American House Designer - August 26, 1946 Life Magazine
Excerpt from August 26, 1946 Life magazine
Royal Barry Wills Designs the Kinds of Houses Most Americans Want
Scattered about the U.S. are some 1,100 houses which long before the housing shortage were receiving the longing stares of almost everyone who passed them by. They were designed by Royal Barry Wills, a Boston architect whose products seem to be an almost perfect fulfillment of the sentimen. tal American ideal of what a home should be. Most of Mr. Wills's houses are early American in design-Cape Cod cottages, houses with saltbox roofs or garrison houses with overhanging second stories. Besides designing real houses Wills has designed several hundred on paper and published them in six books which have a combined sale of 520,000, making him the nation's most popular architectural author. Solidly entrenched as the leading U.S. designer of small traditional houses, Wills has become a focal point for the distaste of many of the country's more vociferous but less popular modern architects. They call him a copyist and an opportunist and scorn his lack of enthusiasm for designing machines for living. "In rebuttal Wills maintains that good residential architecture should be primarily emotional and, like good art, be a part of the people and understood by them-a status which modern architecture cannot yet claim. On the following pages LIFE presents a portfolio of Wills houses in photographs and sketches. Like the modernists Wills tries to build as much practicality into them as he can but never at the sacrifice of such things as knotty pine panels, exposed hand-hewn beams, eight-foot fireplaces and windows filled with tiny leaded-glass panes.