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David Gebhard, Hariete Von Bretton, Laura Weiss: THE ARCHITECTURE OF GREGORY AIN [The Play between the Rational and High Art]. Santa Barbara: University of California Santa Barbara Art Museum, 1980. First edition. Slim square quarto. Printed textured paper wrappers. 96 pp. 87 black and white images. Former owners signature on front free endpaper, otherwise a nearly fine copy. Uncommon.
8 x 8 perfect-bound exhibition catalogue with 96 pages illustrated with 87 black and white images of Ain's architecture, interiors, site plans and more. Catalog for the University of California, Santa Barbara Art Museum. Catalog designed by David Gebhard. Primary photography by Julius Shulman.
An architect's work is a step to enhance the quality of living.
Includes documentation of the Edwards House, Los Angeles , Ernst House, Los Angeles , Dunsmuir Flats, Los Angeles [1937–39], Brownfield Medical Building, Los Angeles , Beckman House, Los Angeles , Daniel House, Silver Lake , Margaret and Harry Hay House, North Hollywood , Tierman House, Silver Lake , Vorkapich Garden House, for Slavko Vorkapich, Beverly Hills , Ain House, Hollywood , Orans House, Silver Lake , Jocelyn and Jan Domela House, Tarzana , Park Planned Homes, Altadena , Mar Vista Housing,Mar Vista [1947 – 48], Avenel Homes (cooperative), Silver Lake , Hollywood Guilds and Unions Office Building, Los Angeles , MOMA Exhibition House,New York City , Ben Margolis House, Los Angeles , Mesner House, Sherman Oaks , Richard "Dick" Tufeld House, Los Angeles , Kaye House, Tarzana , Ginoza House, State College, Pennsylvania , and others.
Gregory Ain, FAIA, (1908 – 1988) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1908, but it was in Los Angeles that he studied architecture at the University of Southern California from 1927 – 28. His impulse to study architecture came from an acquaintance as a youth with R.M. Schindler's Kings Road house, and his dissatisfaction with his Beaux Arts training determined him to work in the office of Richard Neutra. Combined in all his early work, which is his finest, are Neutra's repetitive windows and monoplanar surfaces and Schindler's broken planes and accommodation of shell to plan.
Ain's interest in group housing for middle- and low-income families began in his 1937 Dunsmuir Flats, his most frequently published work. The best known view is of four staggered two-story whicte blocks, the ceiling levels defined by continuous ribbon windows; not seen are the private porches and patios. The panel-post construction was an early effort to reduce cost, followed in 1939 by prefabricated plywood walls for a model house.
In 1940 Ain received a Guggenheim Fellowship to continue his researches in low-cost housing, and throughout the 1940's he designed, with the participation of clients, a number of projects for attached and detached housing that were notable for site planning and innovative floor plans. Few were built because lending agencies opposed multiple ownership. One of the several schemes to be built was the 1948 Avenel housing for a musicians' union whose members worked in films. The twenty attached units were broken into two blocks for a shillside site, alnd private patios off the living rooms face the view.
For his more elaborate houses he borrowed freely from the flexible plan of his low-cost housing, and in most cases the alcove sleeping room became a library or guest room. Ain also adapted many contractors' practices for large or small houses to save construction time and reduce cost. Aside from Irving Gill, Gregory Ain was the first architect in California to refine and dignify the low-cost house.