|Number of Storeys:||2-storey|
|Type of Building:||single-detached|
|Number of Units:||1|
|Other Uses:||car parking space, additional room on ground floor|
William Wurster's proposal for "The new house 194x" competition was initiated by a short manifesto in which he lists the inherent and fixed problems of residential dwellings: unalterable areas, arrangements with permanent wall partitions, and a size that is usually limited to minimum initial needs and impossible to expand except at considerable expense. In place of these he proposes a fixed outer shell - an undivided space of 36 feet by 54 feet (a total area of almost 180m2) which is raised one storey above ground level, with a long staircase arriving in the centre of the elongated plan. The principle here is not one of gradual expansion and addition, but of subdivision. Wurster starts with an abundance of inexpensive space that can then be adjusted over time. With this one-floor house Wurster uses the concept of excess space; space that is as simple and economical as loft construction and allows everything from maximum openness to complete division.
Initially, the completely open space would be divided only by a completely prefabricated kitchen bay, bathroom and closets. “Later on, with children,” it could be further subdivided into a series of smaller separated areas or rooms through the addition of closet units. These, Wurster indicates, are factory-fabricated units for space division and storage. Two standard sizes in two heights cater for all needs: as clothes closets, as shelves for books and magazines, as a sideboard, as a storage cupboard for brooms and ironing equipment and as laundry unit. As with Corbusier's Maisons Loucheur, Wurster offers additional space beneath the house for expansion: a space that can be the garage, a garden store, a social hall and/or a utility room.
Treib, M., An Everyday Modernism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 172-173.
Wurster, W. W., 'The new house 194X ... : 29. Flexible Space', The Architectural Forum, 1942, pp. 140-42.
Wurster, W. W., A flexible house for happier living, New York: Revere Copper and Brass, 1943.