A few notable movements in American residential architecture occurred in the first half of the 20th century. A large migration of people into the cities of the United States fueled construction of homes in newer areas. The styles of the Victorian and Edwardian eras passed into history as families were able to order plans from their homes from catalogs beginning in the 1920s. Home styles became more accessible to the population at large by 1930.
A popular home style in the 1930s was the bungalow. The style was so popular that variations of it were built through the 1950s, only diminishing in popularity with the growth of the suburbs. The bungalow is typically one story with a front-to-back floor plan. Some bungalows had large attics that could easily be converted into second stories; others were raised so that the basement level was partially visible from outside the home. There are California bungalows, Chicago bungalows, ranch bungalows and ultimate bungalows which delineate particular styles from the standard bungalow form.
The prairie style of home was largely influenced by the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Given its name, the style was most popular in the Midwest and the Great Plains. The primary look of a prairie-style house was a flat or minimally arched roof with broad overhanging eaves providing ample shade to the house. The windows were large and horizontal. The overall image of the house was long and horizontal, as if fitting into the view of a flat prairie.
Spanish Colonial Revival
In the 1920s and 1930s, one movement in residential architecture was known as Spanish revival. Although it took place mostly in the West, you can find influences of it across the country. Notable on the Spanish revival house was the terra cotta exterior walls, stucco interior walls, clay tile roofs and porches or balconies. The homes often had dramatic flair. Large staircases, wrought iron details and double hung windows were part of the style.
Modern architecture in the United States is largely linked to skyscrapers and large projects like office complexes and airports. However, early modern homes were built in the 1930s in the United States, mostly in the western states. The modern style was boxy with large windows, frequently floor to ceiling. The roofs were flat and the structure itself was made of innovative components like steel and aluminum, unlike the brick or wooden houses of previous eras. In the 1930s, the modern style was definitely for affluent homeowners who contracted homes designed by their own architects.
- "The Bungalow Book"; Henry Wilson; 2006
- "Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie House": Alan Hess and Alan Weintraub; 2006
- "Triangle Modernist Houses"; Richard Nuetra
- "Spanish Revival Architecture"; S. F. Cook III and Tina Skinner; 2006
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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