Architect Gregory Ain (1908-1988) was not only celebrated for the beauty inherent in his mid century designs but also his commitment to socially responsible architecture. His work on cooperative housing projects in the 1930s and 1940s were so controversial at the time that the FBI monitored Ain’s and his political activities. A recent exhibition at Woodbury School of Architecture’s WUHO gallery in Los Angeles “Gregory Ain: Low-Cost Modern Housing and the Construction of a Social Landscape,” focused on displaying Ain as a pioneer in low-cost equitable housing and not just as a prolific mid century architect.
These projects stand out for their innovative approach to the construction of a “social landscape” through the integration of architecture, landscape, and planning. While promoting ideas of mutual investment in the built environment, these planned neighborhoods were meant to provide “common people” with a new kind of shared urban space.
Although the exhibition recently ended it is important to note the history of socially responsible architecture. Ain’s work stands as a strong case-study for the necessity of transdisciplinarity between architecture, landscape, and urban planning.
A full description of the exhibition can be read on WUHOs website here.
Image courtesy of WUHO