© 1958 Clyde Mannon

History

Arapaho Hills is a residential subdivision in Littleton, Colorado listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places. This community of 56 unique, modern homes was constructed between 1955 to 1964.

Concepted by Edward Hawkins and Clyde Mannon, Arapaho Hills reflects the Usonian and International design styles in post-World War II architecture and their influence on the development of new forms of suburban residential subdivisions.

The feeling evoked by the neighborhood is that of a mid-20th century suburban enclave of residences, an expression of Modern architectural forms in a suburban residential setting.

Design

INTERNATIONAL STYLE

The International Style in architecture first appeared in Germany and France in the 1920s. By the 1930s, it was firmly established in Europe and the United States.

International Style is the expression of two interrelated concepts: functionalism and reductionism. Functionalism is the tendency to generate the design of a building as a product of an analysis of functional criteria. Reductionism is the tendency to reduce the elements in a building's design to their most basic expression, resulting in an architecture of stark simplicity.

The common characteristics of the International Style include a radical simplification of form, a rejection of ornament, and adoption of glass, steel and concrete as preferred materials.

USONIAN STYLE

Usonian Style is based on the later work of Frank Lloyd Wright, first appearing in the 1930s. His Usonian Style of architecture reflected his social ideals of simplicity and economy as well as his interest in urban planning: buildings designed to be cost effective while blending into the landscape of their local surroundings.

The Usonian Style is based on Wright's concept of Naturalism. Each architectural project is seen as having a "natural" solution derived from its function and site. Houses in Arapaho Hills are situated on a hillside and oriented on their lots to take advantage of southern and western exposures for solar heating and eastern views of the plains.

The influence of traditional Japanese architecture is also seen in the Usonian Style. They share open floor plans, flowing interiors, abundant natural light from clerestory windows, overhanging eaves, and shallow pitch roofs. Prominent use of glass and stone reduces the separation of interior and exterior spaces.

Many homes in Arapaho Hills feature carports, a term coined by Wright to describe an overhang for sheltering a parked vehicle, who once said of the garage, "A car is not a horse, and it doesn't need a barn."