Alistair Gordon looks at a book of Paul Rudolph’s Florida houses with surprising results. The architect, whose buildings are embattled today, was profoundly influenced by his work on warships during World War 2:
Along with commercial and institutional projects, the firm specialized in these low-maintenance beach houses for prosperous bohemians and fluttering snow birds who wanted to live in a simple, one-to-one relationship with the natural wonders of coastal Florida. (Rudolph designed more than thirty such houses between the years 1946 and 1961 and so many of his signature moves were in direct response to the sub-tropical conditions of sunlight, humidity, sea breezes, mosquitoes, and hurricanes.) He worked in collaboration with Twitchell on the earlier ones, but mastered the medium and soon surpassed his senior partner. During World War II, Rudolph had worked as a naval architect and learned about thin-shell construction, the economy of means and the efficient use of space. “I was profoundly affected by ships,” he said. “I remember thinking that a destroyer was one of the most beautiful things in the world.” He took take what he learned in the ship yards and apply it to his post-war houses.
Wall to Wall: Rudolph’s Florida Houses (Wall Street Journal)