Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Face Bricks in New Orleans

This blog has previously addressed the Internet Archive resource, the Building Technology Heritage Library, an expanding collection of pre-1964 North American architectural and building trade catalogs, house plan books, and technical building guides.  Regardless of the vendor's base of operations, it is often possible to locate building documentation related to your respective region amid the testimonials, competition announcements and advertisements.

The image above appeared in the Chicago-based American Face Brick Association's publication, The Story of Brick  (third edition, 1922), along with the caption "An excellent example of how admirably suited face brick are to a beautifully designed house."  New Orleans architect Nathan Kohlman († 1957), most known for his Napoleon Avenue Gates of Prayer Synagogue (1920), received credit for planning the bungalow.

In 1919, the American Face Brick Association (AFBA) had advertised a national competition for a small face brick house.  Five members of the American Institute of Architects served as judges, screening hundred of plans received from American and Canadian architects. From the selected plans, the AFBA published a small house plan booklet, titled The Home of Beauty, which sold for 50 cents.  A similar publication, Face Brick Bungalows and Small House Plans, published in 1921 and available for 25 cents, garnered such interest that over 43,000 copies sold in nine months.

Image above:  American Face Brick Association.  The Story of Brick, 3rd ed.  Chicago: Eben Rodgers, 1922, p. 27, as it appears in the Internet Archive.

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