Home > Decoration Encyclopedia > Tour the 10 Homes That Changed America

Tour the 10 Homes That Changed America

by Rick Anderson

In its 10 Homes That Changed America , the first in a three-part series, PBS discusses the many ways in which America has been shaped by its iconic and important residential architecture. According to series host Geoffrey Baer, narrowing the millions of examples across America down to ten was a challenge. Other episodes explore ten towns and parks that have impacted the way Americans live and enjoy the great outdoors. The series is available on iTunes and shoppbrg . Here, AD tours the ten homes that have not only passed the test of time but also paved the way for those that followed.

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico (circa 15th century)

The pueblos of New Mexico’s Taos Indians are more than a thousand years old. Although no one lives in them anymore, they are considered by many to have been America's first eco-friendly homes. These mud-brick structures stayed cool during the heat of the day and radiated warmth during the cool nights.

Monticello, Virginia (1772)

Thomas Jefferson called his home an “essay in architecture.” And with good reason: From its perfect proportions to its unique design, the Charlottesville, Virginia, home helped to popularize Palladian style in America. Jefferson had similar buildings constructed decades later at the nearby University of Virginia, which he founded.

Lyndhurst, New York (1842)

This Gothic Revival castle, nestled in a parklike setting above the Hudson River, was home to former Gotham mayor William Paulding (1770-1854). It was designed by A.J. Davis, a popular architect of the day, and became the standard that post-industrial America’s grand estates were judged against.

Mid-19th Century Tenement, New York City

As immigration to the United States exploded during the mid-19th century and the Lower East Side of Manhattan overflowed with residents, many newcomers found a place to begin their American Dream in notorious tenements. The cramped and horrid living conditions eventually gave birth to housing regulations that, to this day, continue to guarantee basic necessities in American housing such as plumbing and lighting.

The Gamble House, Pasadena, California (1908)

Built in 1908 by brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, the Gamble House has been labeled the quintessential American Craftsman home. This bungalow, designed for David and Mary Gamble, of multinational company Procter & Gamble fame, is a masterpiece of Arts and Crafts, a movement popular from 1880 to 1910. The Gamble House’s style hints at traditional Japanese aesthetics and exudes a spaciousness made possible by the abundance of land and a hospitable climate.

Langston Terrace Dwellings, Washington D.C. (1938)

Langston Terrace, the nation’s second federally funded public housing project, was completed in 1938. The dwellings were designed by African-American architect Hilyard Robinson, who believed architecture could transform lives. By integrating courtyards, green spaces, and playgrounds into his design, Robinson mimicked the European model of urban planning, encouraging a sense of community.

Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania (1937)

Fallingwater is among the most revered buildings in the world. The masterwork of architect Frank Lloyd Wright , the structure is cantilevered, in part, over a waterfall. Constructed with stone walls in the woods of Mill Run, the house is low to the ground, appearing almost organic as it blends with its surroundings.

Eames House, Pacific Palisades, California (1949)

As part of a challenge to come up with an affordable home that could be easily replicated, husband-and-wife furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames created this residence in the Westside of Los Angeles. The house—which used prefabricated materials ordered from catalogues—has become an icon of modern architecture.

Marina City, Chicago, Illinois (1962)

In the 1960s, during a time when people were fleeing the city for open suburban landscapes, architect Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City was calling them back. Built as mixed-use structures, the skyscrapers take up an entire block in downtown Chicago. In describing the remarkable design of the buildings, show host Geoffrey Baer says Marina City “had everything—parking, restaurants, offices, a movie theater, and more.” The two mixed-use towers were instrumental in the revitalization of our nation’s urban architecture.

Glidehouse, Novato, California (2004)

At the turn of 21st century, energy-efficient and sustainable prefab homes came in to high demand. As a spark to the movement, Glidehouse, a 2004 design by architect Michelle Kaufmann, gave rise to factory-produced, modern, elegant, and eco-friendly houses that can now be seen across America.

Leave a Comment