Case Study House #22 by Peter Koenig 1956.

In post-war America optimism for the future and prosperity was running high and in 1945, Arts & Architecture magazine initiated a program called the Case Study Houses. The program aimed to shape the course of American architecture by exposing the public to modern architectural design and contemporary construction methods in an effort to create technologically based and affordable housing.

Built between 1945 and 1966 the program was made up of 36 experimental prototypes based in Southern California. Some of the better known architects that participated in the program included Charles Eames, Richard Neutra, Peter Koenig and Eero Saarinen.

The houses became some of the most famous examples of modern architectural design in North America and the program served to introduce a generation to new ways of designing and constructing residential homes.


Newspaper advert for open house 1953.

The Trend House Program
In 1953/54 Canada created it's own Case Study program called the "Trend House" Program which was sponsored by the BC Softwood Lumber Association. Between 1952 and 1955 ten houses were built across Canada to showcase the use of softwood lumber in the construction of new homes. As with the Case Study houses the Trend Houses were kept open for public viewing for a time after construction and it's estimated that over a million Canadians visited the houses.

As in the Case Study program, the design parameters for each of the houses was left up to the architects, who were selected from local firms, and were proponents of modern design. Designers were told to create houses that were slightly ahead of the current building technology, giving people a view of what residential homes might look like 5 or 6 years in the future. The interior of the Trend Houses were outfitted by Eatons, using primarily furniture and textiles from Canadian designers chosen by the National Industrial Design Council of Canada.

The Trend Houses exposed Canadians to new ideas in architecture, construction and interior design, and influenced the design of middle class houses in Canada for years to come.

The Varscona Theater by Rule, Wynn & Rule.

Rule, Wynn & Rule
In 1953 Peter Rule from the firm of Rule, Wynn and Rule was selected to design the Calgary Trend House. The firm was a little unusual both in the fact that it was based in Alberta when most of the leading firms were based in the East, and the principles had all received their degrees in Architecture in Alberta. In the 1950s with the unprecedented wealth that flowed into Alberta from it's oil industry the firm kept busy designing a number of important buildings including corporate, municipal and residential commissions.

The firm was known for their designs in the modern style, and in addition to the Trend House designed Elvedon House, Calgary's first skyscraper, McMahon Stadium, and the Varscona Theater in Edmonton, described by Trevor Boddy as "one of the best examples of Moderne architecture in Canada".

Based in Edmonton, the Calgary office was closed in the 1980s


The Trend House, fall 2000.

Design and Construction
The site selected for the house was in the neighborhood of Elboya, southwest of the city center. The project was announced August 1953 and was completed April 17 1954, two weeks behind schedule. The site selected for the house was in the new community of Elboya, overlooking the Elbow River and with a view of downtown.

The 1500 square foot house was designed in two sections in the form of a "T" and made use of large amounts of glass and West Cost Cedar. The exterior of the house was clad in clear coat Cedar with plastic coated Fir plywood panels used in the back of the house. The pitched roof at the back of the house was also shingled in cedar as well. The construction was carried out by local contractor C.L.Brown began in the fall of 1953 and the house was completed in time for it's opening to the public on April 19, 1954. After four months of public viewing the first owners of the house moved in.

Fast forward to fall 2000 in San Francisco where the current owners first saw the property online. Having been on the market for over a year, the owners arranged to see the house next time they were in Calgary, put in an offer and moved back to Calgary in May 2001. Aside from a heavy coating of paint and a few partition walls being erected, the house was largely intact and original.

And so began the journey documented on this site.

  For more information contact Michael Kurtz  

©2002 Michael Kurtz