Plywood Designs from '60s Have Lessons For Today

plywood house designs from 1960 modern image

BoingBoing points to a 1960 publication from the Douglas Fir Plywood Association, Second Homes for Leisure Living, calling it " a rather glorious bit of propaganda for super-modernist plywood living." But it is a lot more than that. It is another world.
plywood house designs from 1960 modern image

Fifty years ago they could write:

With everyone enjoying longer vacations....more free time...better highways making remote retreat areas more accessible.... the mass exodus to the mountains, desert or seashore is easy to understand and-even better- fun to participate in.

plywood house designs from 1960 modern image

But the extraordinary thing is the modesty of the plans, the small, multiple use spaces. People just assumed that you didn't have a house in the country, but that you lived outside.


click to enlarge

They even foresaw the Grow Home, where you start small and add on as you go.

plywood house designs from 1960 modern image

Michelle Kaufmann had a good laugh when I sent her this:


rchitect Philip Thiel has put two completely conventional buildings together here in a way that departs from the conventional in an unusually charming and practical way.

plywood house designs from 1960 modern image

Two small cabins- one for living and one for sleeping- face each other across a partly roofed, screened court.


That's pretty much exactly what she did with her iconic Breezehouse.


Image Credit Muskoka Cottage For Sale

Things have changed so much in 50 years. People have less leisure time, not more. The highways to remote areas now lead to sprawl. Second homes have grown in size so much that this is actually called a summer cottage. They have become unaffordable to all but the very rich. They are considered sinful because of the environmental cost of all of the driving.

But there once was a time when modern, efficient living in small spaces was actually aspirational. That is another thing we have lost.

See them all at Second Homes for Leisure Living (1960)
More on tiny homes:
Sinful Second Homes
Site Makes Sharing Your Boat, Plane or 2nd Home Easier (and Green?)

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