Sunday, May 23, 2010

A-Frame Houses

A-frame houses make me nostalgic for a time before I was born: a vague picture of canoes on lakes, musty plaid sleeping bags with difficult zippers, board games and card games and cross-country skiing. Notable for their sloped roof lines and triangular shape, A-frame houses experienced a surge in popularity in the mid-20th century, when architect Andrew Geller began populating the Atlantic beaches of New York and New Jersey with the design. Architectural historian Chad Randl, whose excellent book A-Frame considers the important role this structure plays in our understanding of post-war capitalism, is also cognizant of the nostalgia these homes evoke, noting that visiting one was stepping back in time to "Friday nights unloading the car after driving from the city, apres ski parties, hot cocoas, games of Parcheesi and chess, skis piled up in the corners, and wool socks drying on the loft rail" (1). And although the popularity of the design began to wane in the 1980s, as the vinyl siding-clad suburban behemoths of my generation were ushered in, I, for one, would like to see A-frames move out of the woods and into the city.

1. Randl, Chad. A-Frame. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004. 9.