Competitions and Model Homes

Competitions for architectural designs are not new. Even in the early 20th century architects entered competitions as a means of seeking work and publicizing their designs. Because the need for additional housing was intense, house design competitions were ubiquitous. Popular magazines, such as Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens, as well as architectural journals like Architectural Forum frequently sponsored competitions. So did building supply organizations such as the West Coast Lumber Bureau, the White Pine Association, and the American Face Brick Association.


Similarly, in the post-WWII era builders and developers sought designs for model homes in their housing developments. Model homes gave prospective home buyers not only creative ideas but also helped them envision what their new home could be. Model homes used the latest in building techniques and materials, as well as the newest design trends. Seen by hundreds, even thousands of people, they were also effective in selling lifestyle changes that reflected social and cultural changes taking place in that era.[1]


[1] For more information see “Dream Home: Remodeling American Expectations with Model Houses” by Catherine Wallack in The Journal of American Culture, v. 32 no 4: 332-42, Dec. 2009.


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