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Brooks Stevens House

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c. 1942, Fitzhugh Scott. 8041 Gray Log Ln.

Industrial designer Brooks Stevens helped define modern life in the second half of the twentieth century. His most familiar creation was the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, the meatpacker’s mascot, but he also designed an improved Allis Chalmers tractor; the Studebaker, Excalibur, and Jeep automobiles; the Hiawatha train; Evinrude boat engines; an electric steam iron; the 1950 Harley Davidson motorcycle; and the interlocking design on Formica countertops. In 1944, he helped found what became the Industrial Designers Society of America.

It is no surprise that when he asked prominent Milwaukee architect Scott to plan his home, he chose a modernist design. Its sinuous form begins with a one-story rectangle in front and ends with a two-story block at the back, which incorporates a two-car garage. A glass-block screen and a flat canopy mark the entrance at the junction of the rear block and the curved walls of the main living areas. The overall impression of the house is simplicity. Smooth concrete walls feature only spare ornamentation on the coping, a fluted chimney stack, and a scalloped molding above the stained glass window that extends the full height of the second story. Stevens, it is said, coined the phrase “planned obsolescence,” but this concrete house, with its simple lines, remains thoroughly modern.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Brooks Stevens House", [Fox Point, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-MI183.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 155-156.

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