At first, visitors to Cheryl Luckett’s ranch-style home in Southwest Portland anticipate it was congenital by midcentury avant-garde masters Joseph Eichler or Robert Rummer. They point at the hardly pitched roof, the bowl bottle and few autogenous walls fabricated accessible by post-and-beam construction. And, of course, the admonition open-air, autogenous atrium.
“If they attending closer,” says Luckett, “they can see this abode is different.”
That’s an understatement. The Kool-Aid amethyst alleged for the ribbed aluminum balustrade is a clue. So are the window grilles alloyed of peacock dejected aluminum rods and the blue, solid aluminum advanced door.
Much added than blush sets this abode apart. It’s one of alone 24 Alcoa Care-free archetypal homes congenital to advertise the versatility of aluminum. While Eichler in California, Rummer in Oregon and added builders above the country acclimated wood, in 1957, W. C. Bauman erected this beginning abode advised to charge 75,000 pounds of aluminum.
The durable, abounding metal was acclimated for about aggregate except the accurate foundation, copse finishes and laminated artificial counters.
All the bottle windows, sliding bottle doors and tub enclosures were affected in aluminum. Architectural affairs additionally alleged for textured bedding of the metal to be akin with accustomed besom copse for walls.
The “maintenance-free” metal was acclimated for the roof to the fascia strip, from beaming ablaze accessories to ablaze switches, and for every non-rustable nail.
After World War II, the Aluminum Aggregation of America, now Alcoa, was analytic to advertise its “miracle metal” above cars, trucks, aerospace and defense. Architecture was one way to body business, so in the mid-1950s, the aggregation opened a residential sales analysis and afraid its hopes on the common apartment boom.
First step: Invent new means to use the metal in an easy-to-live-in, easy-to-clean avant-garde home. Alcoa aggregate the brightest architecture minds to a appointment chaired by Portland artist Pietro Belluschi.
Belluschi was again the administrator of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture and Planning, and a big accepter in aluminum. His 1948 Equitable Architecture (now accepted as the Commonwealth Building) in city Portland was the aboriginal high-rise to use aluminum cladding on the outside.
Belluschi’s son, Portland artist Anthony Belluschi, says that although there was a surplus of aluminum afterwards WWII that fabricated it adorable to designers and builders, Pietro Belluschi declared it as accepting a new affectionate of beauty, “clean, able and straightforward.”
Just as U.S. Steel answer its articles by allotment the architect-designed Case Study Abode Program in California, Alcoa saw its durable, corrosion-resistant aluminum as allotment of the abode of the future.
Architect Charles M. Goodman of Washington, DC, was assassin to architecture the single-story Alcoa Care-free Home with indoor-outdoor appearance fabricated accessible by bottle affected in aluminum and affluence of doors.
From the access with accompanying panels of bottle adverse the advanced yard, the abode flows from one cellophane allowance into another, and yet is hidden abaft altogether positioned aloofness walls.
The kitchen is in the middle, captivated by the living, dining and assuredly the ancestors room, all with sliding bottle doors that opened to yards or the covered autogenous courtyard that draws in accustomed ablaze with huge skylights. On the added ancillary of the courtyard is a bank concealing a barn and as originally advised abaft it, a abounding workshop.
A columnist absolution in 1957 said Alcoa capital to actualize the “greatest change in residential architecture abstracts in centuries.”
The aggregation hoped to sponsor a bounded architect in all 50 states to assemble an Alcoa Care-free Home. But it alone succeeded in active Goodman’s plan in two dozen “strategic locations” in 16 states. Portland architect Bauman took on the claiming and erected the eye-catching, single-story avant-garde abode amid acceptable homes in the Montclair neighborhood.
Today, the energy-efficient, recyclable metal helps projects authorize for blooming architecture status. Sixty years ago, however, aluminum was a change in home architecture and what was initially answer as an affordable $25,000 abode angry out to amount about double. Steel couldn’t attempt with the low amount of copse either.
Luckett owns Oregon’s alone Alcoa Care-free Home. Today, the ablaze midcentury avant-garde at 7475 SW Northvale Way is for auction at $950,000, as listed by Margaret Dorman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate.
The aboriginal architecture was 1,900 aboveboard feet. Luckett’s autogenous courtyard was amid and one area was belted off to accomplish an office. The branch abaft the barn became a bedfellow apartment and laundry room. Without alteration the footprint, her active amplitude is now 2,826 aboveboard feet.
The 1957 kitchen was adapted afore Luckett bought the abode in 1998 — gone is the horizontal, wall-mounted kitchen. But the blooming cypress ceilings and attic plan accept not been altered.
Although Luckett says the indoor-outdoor appearance and the way the attic plan flows from one allowance to addition accomplish it accessible for her to absorb abounding and baby gatherings, she’s accessible to downsize.
But aboriginal she wants to acquisition a client who will adulation this house, brushed aluminum posts and all.
Anthony Belluschi, who has been accustomed by the canning accumulation Restore Oregon for his apology work, addendum that Goodman’s beginning aluminum houses accept loyal fans.
“These Alcoa Care-free Homes were avant-garde and additionally aggregate some characteristics of my father’s residential designs in their use of copse ceilings, pitched roofs and abounding glass,” says Anthony Belluschi. “We are advantageous to accept one of these appropriate homes actuality in Portland.”
You can see the aboriginal 1957 Alcoa Care-free Home advertisement here.
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