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Better Living by Design: A. Quincy Jones


By Mary Daily

Published Apr 25, 2013 8:00 AM

"A. Quincy Jones is among L.A.'s most under-recognized native sons," says Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum. "In many ways his designs encapsulate the complexity of the urban landscape here." Like L.A. itself, she says, this modernist architect's work is both glamorous and trendsetting, yet its real strength can be seen in "everyday work environments and domestic spaces."


A. Quincy Jones, Sidney F. and Frances Brody House, Los Angeles, California, 1948-51. Photograph by Jason Schmidt, 2012. Courtesy Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Now the Hammer is presenting a major career survey in an exhibition titled A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living. Part of the larger Getty-sponsored Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A., the show will highlight the unique collaborative nature of Jones' practice and will run from May 25 through September 8.

Jones, who practiced architecture in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1979, sought to bring a high standard of design to the area's growing middle class by refining postwar housing and stressing cost-effective, innovative and sustainable methods. He also was one of the first architects of the period to view developments as an opportunity to build community through shared green spaces, varied home models and non-grid site planning. He is credited with more than 5,000 built projects, most of which still exist. Known for designing from the inside out, he is renowned for expansive interior spaces; thoughtful, efficient layouts; and reverence for the outdoors.


A. Quincy Jones and Associates, Architects. Warner Bros. Records building, Burbank, California, 1971-75. Photograph by Jason Schmidt, 2012. Courtesy Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

The Hammer exhibition is organized thematically in order to demonstrate the wide variety of building types Jones designed. A central space in the gallery highlights his collaborative practice, in which he worked with corporate sponsors, developers and design colleagues who shared his passion for improving livable space not just for economic gain but also for the betterment of communities and society.

The show draws from significant design collections, including Jones' personal and professional archives, which are housed in the Department of Special Collections at UCLA's Charles E. Young Research Library. On view are original architectural drawings, a rare Case Study House model and photographs by such notable photographers of the period as Julius Shulman and Ernest Braun. New photographs of many of the projects, commissioned by the Hammer from photographer Jason Schmidt are also included.



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