Alfred N. Beadle V
Lesser Known Greater Projects:
If you live in AZ and are familiar with architecture, then the chances are you have probably heard of Al Beadle. Beadle was a prominent architect that thrived here in Phoenix and focused on modern design in the 50’s and later. One day I was driving through a neighborhood (house hunting) and I stumbled across this unique neighborhood. They were all originally Beadle houses that people had restored with there own little touches. Every one was different in its own way but was of the same time and had a similar feel. I remember thinking, “how are these old single family homes still here?” Investors were buying up everything in the inner city and knocking them down only to replace them with a stick and stucco trendy mini mansion. The original Beadle homes are made from brick and block with solid wood beams. They are carefully designed with a purpose, well thought out, and the structure was built to stay. The use of breeze blocks was fascinating to me. Modern architecture at the time was affected by the end of WW2. The return of soldiers and the increase of the middle-class created a need for a specific family home. Beadle and other modern architects wanted to create a cohesive flow with the entire home. Large glass was used to let the outside in. Your yard should feel like an extension of your interior. Carports were tied to the back patios and felt very fluid. The breeze blocks created a divide for the vehicles but kept the open concept alive while also adding a statement design feature. I admired the carefully texture brick work that was protruding from the home as you approach the front door. All of the small details were inspiring to me. I love that the neighborhood respected the mid century architecture enough to restore the homes and didn’t demolish them.
My experience with this neighborhood along with a few others inspired me to use breeze blocks for my own home. Unfortunately I couldn’t find these blocks anywhere! There were a few people selling old reclaimed blocks here and there but it was never enough for a full project. Being in the industry of design / build I began prototyping a block. I wanted to take this product that these great architects were using and make it accessible and better. My initial intent was to revisit the great block designs that I’ve come to love and refine them with a third dimension, smoother surface, and more strength. It became apparent pretty quickly that I wasn’t the only one looking for these blocks and I was pleased to see the excitement of designers, architects, and home owners with what Thomas and I were doing. We plan on releasing 50 styles to choose from, so stay tuned.
Links for Inspiration:
- http://modernphoenix.net/beadlearchive/index.htm (Above Feature Photo Credit: modernphoenix.net)