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National Homes Corporation

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:02 pm
by karnut
In the early 70s Taliesin Architects & The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation designed Mobile& Modular Homes for The National Homes Corp. Some were built.Does anybody have info on this.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:53 am
by DRN
TAA produced a 50 page booklet titled "Production Dwellings" in 1970 in conjunction with the state of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or similar agency. (I purchased a copy at the annual FLLW Foundation silent auction) A nice booklet, graphically beautiful, designs range from insightful to fanciful, the renderings by Ling Po are quite good. The text by Vernon Swaback is a bit dated but still has some neat concepts still valid today.

The premise was that with housing costs and the need for good, well designed, affordable housing both escalating, the modular and mobile home industries could be a source to fill this need. The booklet provided design ideas for the manufacturers to improve their product as well as design ideas for developers to make livable communities with the modular and mobile units, rather than the then standard trailer parks.

National Homes bit at the bait and produced a sample house pictured in John Rattenbury's "A Living Architecture" book published in 2000. I'm not sure if the model went into production. The photo of the model in Rattenbury's book appeared to have been significantly watered down from the original design intent.

I know TAA is not looked upon with much favor in this group, but some of their work in the period from 1960 to 1980 was better than the status quo. The "Production Dwellings" excercise was a case in point. How many of us has complained about the lack of thought that goes into the planning of the average American new home? This was an opportunity to put thoughtful design into homes for people with moderate means. They embraced a growing industry that had potential but no thoughtful design and produced something that was far better than what was common in the affordable market. Unfortunately, the industrial "horse" did not drink from the trough to which it was led.

National Homes

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:01 pm
by NickSpellman
In the text that accompanies the pictures of the model shown in "A Living Architecture" John Rattenbury laments the lack of enthusiasm of the industry to adapt the concepts that were proposed for manufactured housing.