One of Southern California's most significant contributions to modern architecture was the Case Study House program sponsored by John Entenza's Art & Architecture magazine. Between 1945 and 1966, thirty-six experimental prototypes were designed and the majority built. Featuring some of the most important architects of the region and generation—including Charles Eames, Craig Ellwood, A. Quincy Jones, Pierre Koenig, Richard Neutra, and Raphael Soriano—the program reflected the modernist goal of reinventing the house as a way of redefining living. A number of the essayists in the book suggest that what made the houses distinctive and influential was not so much their International Style modernism as how that style was domesticated and scaled to the single-family house. . . and how it forecast what came to be known as the California lifestyle.
In addition to the eight main essays, the book, which was based on a 1989-1990 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, contains entries by the exhibition curator, Elizabeth A. T. Smith, and research assistant Amelia Jones on the thirty-six Case Study projects, documentation of six projects commissioned by MOCA, biographies of the thirty architects involved in the program, and a wealth of photographs, drawings, plans, and scale models.