Case Study Houses By Bay Area Architects
Case Study House #27
Location: Smoke Rise, NJ
Architect: Campbell & Wong
Allen Don Fong (Associate Architect in Charge)
Eric Elsesser (Structural Engineer)
Size: 4,500 SF
Status: Designed 1962, unbuilt
Developer: Richard S Robbins Company
There are several points of departure in CSH #27 from the previous demonstration houses. To start with, its location alone on the East Coast signaled the intent to expand the geographical influence of the program that until then had been essentially a California affair. Secondly, the adoption of the pre-cast structural frame its system of construction is its first-and-only- instance of a technology at the forefront of the debate than in the construction industry. Thirdly, the very notion of indoor-outdoor living, a mainstay of California Modernism, had to be reinvented in an altogether different climate where frigid winters are a yearly appointment. Lastly, this was an unusually large house when compared to the sponsored examples.
In equal measure, there are several common points to the previously built and unbuilt designs in the program. This was a speculative house for a family of six where the benefits of new technology were to be tested. It was a single-family residence with land around it to be formalized through its own landscape design. The carport was to be integrated into the overall design since the assumption all along was that private transportation was the main means for circulation. It was an open scheme that can be expanded depending on changing family needs. There was a general contractor, the Richard S. Robbins Company, willing to take on the risk associated with an experimental scheme.
Five 30-foot-square pavilions with a pyramid roof connected through flat-roofed links contain the living functions. Their modular arrangement on the site affords unobstructed views of the wooded surroundings. The corner concrete supports defined the vertical frames filled with fixed floor-to-ceiling glazing allowing for the year-around visual enjoyment of seasonal changes. Louis Kahn’s Trenton Bath House and the Richards Medical Research Laboratories are a clear influence on the design both in the plan layout and the system of construction.
Allen Don Fong, then a young associate in the Campbell & Wong office, lead the design. Notable structural engineer Eric Elsesser, the founder of the firm Forell/Elsesser Engineers and habitual collaborators in residential projects with Richard Neutra and Raphael Soriano among others, was recruited to deal with the pragmatics of pre-cast technology.
John CardenCampbell (1915-1996)
Born in San Francisco, Campbell studied architecture at Sacramento Community College, at the Art Students League in New York, and at the Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design where he graduated in 1940. In 1946 he founded the firm Campbell & Wong and authored with his partner, Worley Wong, dozens of residences as well as commercial and institutional projects receiving national and international acclaim. In his role as an educator, Campbell taught interior design at the University of California Extension for over 20 yrs.
Worley Wong (1912-1985)
Born in Oakland, Wong graduated with honors from UC Berkeley. He co-designed as a partner a great many of the award-winning projects of the Campbell & Wong firm, later reorganized as Brocchini & Wong. For his design talent, he was included in the 1958-59 study of the 40 most creative architects sponsored by the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California Berkeley. His name was also associated with the design of a new mansion for the Governor of California, a project later canceled.
Allen Don Fong (1932-)
A Sacramento native, Fong graduated with a B. Arch in 1953 and a Master of Architecture in 1955 from UC Berkeley. His association with Campbell & Wong lasted from 1956 to 1963. He later worked for Lawrence Halprin, and Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons prior to moving to Los Angeles. After a brief stint a Victor Gruen Associates and Charles Luckman Associates, he opened his own practice Fong-Preston-Jung designing projects encompassing architecture and landscape.