The 194x House: Economy, Efficiency, and Prefabrication


  • Sarah Gurevitch UF Undergraduate Architecture Student
  • Vandana



Economy house, prefabrication, mass-production, customization, postwar house.


The Second World War transformed Florida residential architecture in the 1940s through the development of new technologies: prefabrication, material innovations, increased industrial production, innovations in lighting, and improvement in thermal comfort design. These technological advancements combined with budget constraints and cultural shifts from the Second World War called for a national dialogue to define what was the ideal postwar home. Architects faced tension between the mass-production and individualization of houses in the efforts of planning a house within limited budgets. Thus, the planning of the 1940s Economy House was introduced to address the competing requirements of standardization and customization. Through examining the September 1942 issue of the trade journal the Architectural Forum dedicated to the ideal postwar house or 194x house, this paper looks at how prefabrication and the individualization of homes were able to work together to create the ideal “economy home”. The editors of Architectural Forum, posed a key question for architects and construction professionals: “How can the House of 194x be made the most-wanted commodity in the competitive postwar marketplace” (The Editors, 1942)? The war's rapid technological advancements led the editors of Architectural Forum to conclude that the tension between the mass-production and customization for individual needs would be a key determinant of residential architecture after the war. The technological developments, coupled with the emerging financial constraints in home ownership resulted in a national dialogue on the 194x house. Thirty-three designers presented proposals for the ideal House of 194x in the Architectural Forum September 1942. This paper examines how these designers resolved the conflict between prefabrication and individualization of homes to create the ideal “economy home.”


Metrics Loading ...