Pre-Fabulous Aluminum House

This Mars Rover-esque vision of far-out shelter from the Centerbrook archives was designed by Charles W. Moore at the invitation of the Alcoa Aluminum Company, which wanted to mass-market a bare-bones, mobile, prefab vacation house. Five architects, including Moore and Ulrich Franzen, were invited to brainstorm with Alcoa and explore the design versatility of aluminum.

Delving into Centerbrook’s primordial past, way back to the late 1960s, Genie Devine extracted this visual gem from the cobwebbed attic. She is organizing the firm’s material through 1990 to be shipped off to Yale, to be part of the university’s architectural archives. This sketch was made by the late Charles W. Moore and William Turnbull, and a model of same (nowhere to be found) was created in one evening, on deadline, by Bill Grover, Centerbrook partner emeritus, who, at the time, was an architectural student of Mr. Moore at Yale.

Besides teaching, Mr. Moore had established an architectural firm that would become Moore Grover Harper that would become Centerbrook. Alcoa, corporate to a fault, picked a bland, cookie-cutter, white bread design over this funky-town entry, according to a contemporary Time magazine account.

Genie will be providing visual material from the archives for the blog from time to time.