A building which retains its architectural integrity is one which has been maintained as it was built and intended to be. When buildings are altered through remodeling or the installation of “maintenance -free” windows or siding, integrity is compromised. Such compromise is increasingly commonplace. On rare occasions, both wood and masonry buildings can be altered and still maintain their original feel. Physical integrity is still compromised, but perceptually the change is minimal. However, this is the exception and not the rule.
But what about pre-fabricated metal houses? The fabled Lustron house, which was available in three models (the Westchester, Newport and Meadowbrook), is much less resilient to change. Not just less resilient, but downright hostile to change. And why not? The very idea of the house was that it was perfect from the start and would not ever require change – not even paint! A house designed with a specified plan utilizing a specified number of specific manufactured parts (not to mention baked-on finishes) was never meant to be fluid and adaptable; by its very nature it was resistant to change. So, it should come as no surprise that when Lustrons are altered the only result can be the loss of architectural integrity and the loss of their iconic character.
The first two houses shown below are intact examples of the Westchester – those following them illustrate why architectural integrity is important!
Here are some more Lustron makeovers which I found online:
I recently ran across a house in McDonald, Kansas, which looked oddly familiar. Pretty sure I’d seen this facade before… maybe a Sears kit house? So I took a photo. After some digging, I found what I was looking for. To me, the house at first appeared to be an astonishingly intact example of the… Continue Reading
Despite the handsome Queene Anne window sash depicted, this post is not about windows. I just wanted to let everyone know that my internet access will be sporadic over the next few weeks as I am finally able to get an ISP for the new house (finding a reliable provider in the middle of nowhere… Continue Reading
The “Westly”, a popular kit house by Sears, was offered throughout the ‘teens and 1920’s. Its overtly Craftsman porch supports and balustrade make it memorable and easily recognizable. The following Westly, built in Holdrege, Nebraska, had lost its original balustrades at some point as seen in an image from 2013, (second image below). Earlier this… Continue Reading
Last weekend I happened by a J-6 house by the Harris Brothers and it occurred to me that we previously had only see the front and side of the house in period material and contemporary photos. What does the back of one of these look like? Will the back match the floor plan? Here is… Continue Reading