8 Great Modern Masters - Page 8

Mid-century architects of Southern California who pioneered an international movement
8 Great Modern Masters
8 Great Modern Masters
A. Quincy Jones and the Jones house, Los Angeles (1955).


Thousands of tract home designs for Joe Eichler and many other homebuilders, elegant custom homes for America's richest businessmen and top movie stars, university buildings and campus designs, churches, offices, and more poured from the drawing boards of Jones & Emmons, where Quincy Jones (1913-1979) served as chief designer, with partner Frederick Emmons.

Few architects of his generation were as successful as Jones in achieving one of the main goals of many modernists—building affordable housing for the masses.

Besides the neighborhoods he designed for Eichler, Jones & Emmons' modern tracts can be found throughout the state and beyond.

Jones wanted to plan entire neighborhoods, houses, landscaping, streets, pathways, shops, services, and worship. He came close in Air Force housing near Sacramento, where single-family homes and duplexes, some with butterfly roofs, are arrayed in an open, fence-less landscaping with walking paths.

In their 1957 book Builders Homes for Better Living, Jones and Emmons wrote, "The best home is a part of a total community."

Jones & Emmons designed Greenmeadow, an Eichler tract in Palo Alto that was laid out around a community center and pool with attractive curving streets. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some of Jones & Emmons' more imaginative neighborhood plans failed due to opposition from city officials. In the late 1950s Jones & Emmons almost worked out a deal that would really have put modernism on the map—designing a Levittown for Levitt and Sons.

Jones' earliest neighborhood was designed in the late 1940s, for the Mutual Housing Association in Crestwood Hills, Los Angeles. Jones built himself a steel-framed house there.

His interest in steel for residential construction continued throughout his career, including the design of the all-steel, experimental X-100 in San Mateo Highlands for Eichler.

Among Jones' best-known custom homes are the immense Walter Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, and a home for Gary Cooper in Los Angeles. They are as livable as anything Jones & Emmons ever designed for Eichler, if a tad grander.