A-frame, the book
The book explores post-World War II American leisure culture as reflected in one of the most compelling architectural events of the 1950s: the development of the A-frame vacation home. The arrival of the A-frame coincided with a postwar era in which increases in disposable income and free time combined with a new national emphasis on recreation, the building of roads through wilderness areas and cost-saving innovations in construction to spark a vacation home boom. A variety of second home forms was available, from the log cabin to the International Style glass box. But for those wanting a place that was unusual and exciting, modern yet warm, cheap and easy to build by developer and amateur alike, a place wholly suited to the informal leisure lifestyle, the A-frame was an appealing alternative.
At a time when the emphasis was on low cost designs that also stirred the imagination, A-frames delivered both. Depending on who was looking at it, the A-frame was the embodiment of contemporary geometric inventiveness or a steadfast, timeless form that suggested the wilderness and rustic survival. Perhaps most importantly, it got attention. This broad appeal suggests why A-frames were quickly appropriated for roadside commercial buildings such as hot dog stands, cafes and liquor stores, and even for postwar religious architecture. As the A-frame became a cultural phenomenon and symbol of style, its image was used to sell everything from lumber to doll houses to frozen vegetables.