a. quincy jones




Archibald Quincy Jones (1913-79) was a Los Angeles-based architect and educator who shared the Case Study goal of reinventing the house as a way of redefining the way people lived in post-war America. A pioneer in 'greenbelt' planning and 'green' design, Jones raised the level of the tract house in California from the simple stucco box to a structure of beauty and logic surrounded by gardens and integrated into the landscape. He introduced new materials and a new way of living within the built environment: his work bridged the gap between custom- and developer-built homes. The exquisite detailing and siting of Jones's houses, churches, civic and university buildings make them quintessential embodiments of mid-century American architecture. This is the first ever book to be published on Jones. It documents his full career, from his post-war planning projects to his long association with Palo Alto building magnate Joseph Eichler. The volume consists of two parts: a substantial introductory essay tracing Jones's life and career, with a synopsis of key projects and his contributions to planning; and a catalogue of 60 of Jones's projects illustrated with high-quality black-and-white period photographs, and plans and renderings by Jones himself.


It is easy to dismiss the work of Quincy Jones (1913-79) as modernism lite. His long association with Joseph Eichler and other suburban builders prevented him from being taken as seriously as more rigorous and rebellious peers. Modern architecture is supposed to be challenging; Jones made it look easy. However, a drive around Crestwood Hills in West LA, and a close examination of the model houses he and others designed for that enlightened housing association, engender a new respect. Pragmatic, inventive, and humane, Jones bridged the chasm between high art and popular taste, emphasizing practicality over ideology. Buckner has hands-on experience, having restored four Jones houses, and one wishes she had expanded her brief introduction to the architect’s career to communicate her personal enthusiasm for his unshowy brilliance. In every other way, this is an admirable survey of 65 key projects, illustrated with vintage black and white photos, drawings and plans.
— Michael Webb, October 23, 2002
Let me begin by saying that this is a beautiful book. The original black and white photos are as crisp as the planar fascias and walls of Jones’ many projects represented here. The graphics, (mostly plans and perspective renderings) are reproduced in a sepia tone that wonderfully invokes the spirit of the post WW2 period. And, in this age of neo-modernism, it is great to be exposed to a talented, true modernist whose architecture was not influenced by the latest fads and trends, but by the architect’s deep convictions of modern architecture improving the quality of life.
The book contains a short essay and a catalogue of about 65 of Jones (and his partner Frederick Emmons) projects. The projects are shown chronologically in seven categories: Single-Family Houses; Residential Housing Developments; Churches; Commercial Spaces; Civic Spaces; University Buildings; and Planning Work.
The essay entitled Building for Better Living: The Architecture of A. Quincy Jones, is however, disappointingly brief. Although it begins in a biographical format, it moves quickly into Jones’ theories on multi and single-family residential development. It then discusses Jones’ design methods and uses of materials, and concludes abruptly with Earth Structures & Energy Systems and Planning & Landscape Designs. Very little is mentioned in regard to his practice and the fact that Jones and Emmons were awarded national AIA Firm of the Year in 1969. The essay makes no mention when and how Jones died.
Jones’ plans are a work of art, not just graphically, but in regards to the rigor in which he was able to make space and structure flow and integrate his buildings into the California landscape. It is unfortunate that only about a third of the projects in this book contain plans. Still, there are some stunning projects represented here. I highly recommend this book to the serious student of mid-century modernism.
— Edward J. Shannon, ArCH on June 4, 2002