The iconic triangular style home called the A-frame was a popular form of American architecture that surfaced in the 1930s and peaked in the 1950s and 60s. This mid-century tee-pee style of architecture, defined by it's steep roof, front and rear gables and deep-set eaves, seems to be enjoying a new-found popularity. Numerous windows, both large and small, can be found on the front and rear facades allowing the interiors to be graced by natural sunlight. The interiors are loft-like with their high ceilings, open-floor plans and limited living spaces with the exception of a couple of interior lofts. Due to their structure, these houses are best as vacation or secondary homes. Though now with the growing popularity of the smaller homes, it makes sense that the A-frame is once again becoming a style of interest. I love this style home for many reasons - I love it for its simplicity, the feeling of warmth and comfort it evokes, the large windows that open up to the outdoors and for the casual, rustic vibe which is a total contrast to our busy, modern lifestyles.
I'm always thinking about my next home and where I will settle when my children leave the nest. On one hand a small pied a terre in New York City would suit me perfectly, on the other hand there's something equally inviting about a small A-frame out in the country. Perhaps I should play the lottery and see if I can acquire both!
A brief history of the A-frame:
Triangular and tee-pee shaped homes date back to the dawn of time, but several 20th century architects awakened our interest in the geometric A-frame form.
Though the popularity of this style of home peaked in the 50's and 60s, it was Austrian-born architect Rudolph Schindler who in 1934 brought this design to the States when he built a simple A-frame vacation house in a resort community overlooking Lake Arrowhead in California. It had an open floor plan with exposed rafters and glass-walled gables.
It was perhaps the post WW2 era that brought forth the popularity of this style of home. During this period not only did Americans have more disposable income, allowing many to purchase vacation homes, but so was the affordability of the construction of this triangular shaped house. The style was so adaptable that many architects started to explore different avenues of creativity due to the versatility of this structure. Soon this modern style of architecture was preferred over the traditional, and this vacation style home began to crop up all over the place. According to some sources pre-fabricated kits were widely available and inexpensive and apparently could be purchase at such as establishments as Macy's. Imagine that! It was the well known modern architect, Andrew Geller, who may have given this style more than a passing thought and saw it as more than an inexpensive way to build a home, making it an important style of American architecture. For more read here.