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Allure of the postwar ranch house

Why this architectural style became a nationwide phenomenon
Published on Dec 29, 2006

If asked what is America's most important contribution to residential architecture, most people would probably suggest the log cabin of Abraham Lincoln, a Southern plantation mansion like Scarlet O'Hara's Tara (even though it was only a movie set), or George Washington's Mount Vernon. The correct answer? The ranch house. Not only is it an American original, its echoes are present in nearly every house built since World War II. If this sounds, well, ridiculous, just peel away those Tuscan touches and Tudor treatments and take a closer look at the construction methods, the location of the major living spaces on the back of the house, the generous use of glass that blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor space, and open floor plans that combine several functions within one area of the house. No matter how different a house might look at first glance, you'll find that the ranch's fingerprints are all over the place. Adding the suburban ranch house to the American architectura...

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