Design Architecture Bring Back the Real A-Frame, "The Right Shape at the Right Time" By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated May 04, 2020 JamesBrey / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email Design Tiny Homes Architecture Interior Design Green Design Urban Design On Inhabitat, Bridgette Meinhold shows Lindal Homes' new MAF series, which I assume stands for Modern A-Frame. She writes that " Lindal’s new designs are compact, bold, and feature full-height glass walls, loft space (in one of the models), and the same no-nonsense building process that the original A-frame house was known for." Lindal Homes Lindal calls this "a modern update" of the A-frame. I think that's a bit of a stretch. But it is a good reminder of what was so wonderful about the original A-frame. History of the A-Frame These buildings were incredibly popular in the late fifties and sixties, when the middle class boomed and had enough money for recreational properties, whether on lakes or as ski chalets. They were easy to build, incredibly efficient in their use of materials, and they were almost all roof, and nothing is cheaper than shingles. Since they were recreational properties usually built from kits, they tended to be small in those days. Because the outdoors is your living room. The blurb for Chad Randl's wonderful book a-frame, notes: "A" was the architectural letterform of leisure building in postwar America. Eager to stake out mountain and lakeside retreats, an entire generation of high-end homebuilders and weekend handymen found the A-frame an easy and affordable home to construct; its steeply sloping triangular roof distinctive and easy to maintain (almost no exterior walls to paint!). Fueled by A-frame plans and kits, the style became something of a national craze, with tens of thousands of houses built. Furthering the Design Alastair Gordon One of the nicest A-frames was designed by Andrew Geller, the architect of happiness. The Elizabeth Reese House in Sagaponack, New York, was built in 1955. Alastair Gordon describes Geller's thinking in his obit for Geller, who died on Christmas day in 2011: Alastair Gordon His theory was that the sloping walls of the A-frame would be “storm proof”– less resistant to hurricane winds. That was the idea anyway; it also happened to be the cheapest way to build a roof. Complaints from the local building department were countered with the explanation that the unusual shape of the house was derived from local potato barns. Alastair Gordon This was an A-frame. Meaning, it's structure is exactly this, an A Lindal should bring this back instead of co-opting and I think totally screwing with the term.