Glen Small and his 70's era Green Machine...

It may be somewhat tricky to discern, but the Green Machine by architect Glen Small, co-founder of SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, was truly a significant residential concept in its day, even if it was never physically realized. All that existed were the scale models and architectural renderings, as far as I can tell.

The idea was simple and carries weight today as a viable set-up for apartment-like residential dwellings. To me, the best part of his design was that each sleeping unit, essentially made up of Airstream-type trailers, was the only private space provided in the complex. The other spaces constituted public areas put in place to force the inhabitants of the Green Machine to socialize and form a community. There was also mention of communal kitchen spaces as well as areas for entertaining and plain old lounging, the latter of which I think they did quite a bit of in the 70's.

It is a bit sad that this brilliant, ecologically progressive innovation was never actually built, in this time of suburban sprawl. No one could ever dismiss Small for not having enough talent or drive, only for failing to climb in bed with the movers and shakers of the day. In a documentary film, My Father The Genius, produced and directed by his daughter, Lucia Small, he admits that it was never his ambition to kiss *ss in order to get things done. His work was what he put forth and any merit he did garner came from it alone and not his business savvy. Regardless, he deserves respect for his contributions to architectural design under the influence of pure sensuality.


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