A. Quincy Jones

by | 23. Aug 2012


Photo courtesy Phaidon

Archibald Quincy Jones (1913 – 79) was a Los Angeles-based architect and educator who shared the Case Study goal of reinventing the house as a way of redefining the way people lived in post-war America. A pioneer in “greenbelt” planning and design, Jones raised the level of the tract house in California from the simple stucco box to a structure of beauty and logic surrounded by gardens and integrated into the landscape. He introduced new materials and also a new way of living within the built environment, and his work bridged the gap between custom-built and developer-built homes. The exquisite detailing and siting of Jones’s houses, churches, civic and university buildings make them quintessential embodiments of mid-century American architecture. This is the first book published on Jones.

a_quincy_jones_2.jpg Photo courtesy Phaidon

The book documents Jones’s full career, from his post-war planning projects to his long association with Palo Alto building magnate Joseph Eichler. Comprised of two parts: a substantial introductory essay tracing Jones’s life and career, with a summary of key projects and his contributions to planning; and a catalogue of sixty of Jones’s projects illustrated with high-quality black-and-white period photographs, and plans and renderings by Jones.

a_quincy_jones_3.jpg © Julius Shulman. Jones House #1, Los Angeles, 1938

In 1938, two years after graduating from college with a $25-a-week salary, Jones purchased an “unbuildable” plot of land carved out of the hillside on the southeastern slope of Lookout Mountain in Los Angeles. Jones and his architect wife designed two separate houses on the site, one as a rental property and one as their home.
Rafters at 16 feet on center run the full length of the sloping roof.  Since a certain amount of blocking between the rafters was necessary and the designers felt that most ceilings were too dull, they devised a richly painted egg-crate effect for the rafters and the blocking, which carries through to the outside overhangs.  it was Jones’s first coffered ceiling, an element he would use many times during his career.

a_quincy_jones_4.jpg © Julius Shulman. Photo courtesy Phaidon. Eichler Home, Conejo Valley, California 1964. A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, Architects. Atrium and entrance viewed from the living area.

One of three houses in Southern California designed  for Eichler Home Developments. Between the 1950’s and until Eichler’s death in 1974 Jones and his partner Emmons designed thousand of Eichler Homes.
Eichler’s objective was to provide houses that exceeded the quality provided by the ordinary builder’s house, and to do so in a way that would be affordable to the middle-class home buyers. Jones used the steep-pitched-roof to bring light to the interior of the house the house.  The enclosed courtyard eliminates the confined entry of most small houses and creates an openness in an otherwise limited floor plan.

a_quincy_jones_5.jpg Photo: Larry Frost. Courtesy A. Quincy Jones archives. Photo courtesy Phaidon. St. Michael and All Angels Church, Studio City, California, 1962. A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, Architects. Detail of beam connection with skylight above.

Glue-laminated wood beams span the nave of the 400-seat church and rise to a height of 46 feet, where skylights between each bay wash the wood ceiling in light. Joined by steel plates, each beam acts independently of the other and is firmly anchored in a concrete pier at the base.

a_quincy_jones_6.jpg © Julius Shulman. Town and Country restaurant, palm Springs, california, 1948. Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones, Architects.

Paul R. Williams and Jones were asked to remodel a restaurant , the first step in the remodelling of a large commercial property in Palm Springs.
On both the exterior and interior, the steel-framed structure had textured finishes of cement plaster, Roman brick and redwood. The design for the lounge area, that overlooked a garden courtyard, featured a wooden trellis divider –  an unusual design that mimicked the coffered ceiling Jones designed for his first house.

a_quincy_jones_7.jpg © Julius Shulman. Peninsula Center Library, Palos Verdes Peninsula, California, 1967. A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, Architects.

Courtyard reading room with pre-cast concrete ceiling and vertical wood louvers to control sunlight.

Located on a sloping site, the Library itself became the middle of three levels, with a car park on the roof and at ground level.  A two-story multipurpose room off the protected entry plaza opens to a roofed open courtyard that doubles as the children’s reading garden and a space for large gatherings.  
Cory Buckner is a practising architect and writer who, after losing her home in a Malibu fire, bought a house designed by Jones and began to research his work. She obtained her architecture degree from the California Institute of the Arts and an MA in architectural history at the University of California at Los Angeles.

To order your copy of A. Quincy Jones at the discounted price of £35 with free p&p in the UK, please call Phaidon direct on 020 7 843 1234 and quote ARC002
P.S. One of our favourite architects offices is the Frederick Fisher and Partners building in Los Angeles. The building, designed by Quincy Jones, was named a Historic-Cultural Monument of the City of Los Angeles on February 28, 2002. This honor recognizes the historically significant building and preserves it from any form of destruction or architectural modifications.

Drawing courtesy Frederick Fisher and Partners

The building was designed by A. Quincy Jones as his own architectural office in 1955, with an addition added three years later.  Frederick Fisher and Partners purchased the building in 1995 from the architect’s widow, Elaine Jones.

a_quincy_jones_9.jpg Photo: arcspace

With some minor renovations, Fisher brought the offices back to their original condition with the use period paint colors; the restoration of original built-in furniture and flooring; and the installation of popular 1950s plant life.

a_quincy_jones_10.jpg Photo: arcspace

Situated on an unassuming 8200 square foot, corner lot in West Los Angeles, the free-standing offices remain almost completely unaltered from their original design of nearly a half-century before.

a_quincy_jones_11.jpg Photo: arcspace

The classic two-story, 50s-style building features floor-to-ceiling windows, an open floor plan and four courtyard gardens.  Employees enjoy the building’s indoor-outdoor relationship, with every room looking onto a green space.