Tuesday, December 15, 2009

1952 Better Rooms Contest

In 1952, New Orleans architects Mark Lowery, Lemuel McCoy and James Lamantia submitted designs to the annual Chicago Tribune "Better Rooms Competition." They were not the only architects to do so: Eero Saarinen was also one of 1,100 competitors that year. Each participant was required to submit drawings showing the furnishing, arrangement, and decoration related to one of seven designated room types.

In January 1952, Edward Barry announced the competition:

"Do not hesitate to enter The Tribune's $24,050 Sixth Annual Better Rooms competition merely because you feel the idea you want to submit may be considered extreme. Bold and original interior treatments, if they are practical, will be welcomed. The history of this influential contest proves that the various juries which have chosen the winners have always been hospitable to the new.

"One successful entrant used different floor levels to mark off the separate areas of a living-dining room. Several have specified centrally located fireplace walls. One winner of a major prize constructed an excellent multipurpose room in the unused half of a two-car garage. The need for providing television viewing facilities has resulted in some room treatments which at first glance seemed bizarre, but which on further study revealed themselves as logical and beautiful."

Ultimately, the Chicago Tribune awarded $24,050 in prizes after jurors Meyric R. Rogers, Richard Kostka, Paul R. MacAlister, Rod Cook and Boyd Hill reached consensus. Over 43 winners from 12 states and one foreign country won the 52 available prizes.

Image above: Detail from Mark Lowery, Lemuel McCoy, and James Lamantia's A-4 Bedroom for Single Occupancy-Juvenile 115 design for the Chicago Tribune's 6th Annual Better Rooms Competition, 1952. Mixed media on illustration board. James Lamantia Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

ON DISPLAY in the Southeastern Architectural Archive's new exhibition.

1 comment:

Arkitektfirma said...

this is surely have the classic 50's design.