In 1933 architect, Albert Frey wrote and article entitled, "Subsistence Farmsteads" for Architectural Record, in response to the Depression, when many people tried to supplement their incomes by growing some of their own food. The farmstead housing Frey designed to be built on minimally sized lots and was neither intended to compete with commercial farms nor provide total subsistence. The scheme was versatile and allowed the construction materials to change according to local conditions and availability.

Frey's response to this was the Canvas Weekend House he built with Lawrence Kocher in 1933-1934 at Fort Salonga, in Long Island, NY.

CANVAS….it's made of canvas. 

It was supported by six steel columns that carried wood-framed floors and walls insulted with aluminum foil. The canvas was applied horizontally, starting at the bottom of the wall, and was overlapped and nailed every six inches with copper-headed nails. Interior walls and ceiling were veneered plywood with canvas floor. It apparently needed repainting and resealing every three years. 

The canvas was donated by the Cotton-Textile Institute to test it's ability to be used as an exterior sheathing material. Frey was the first to take this technology and incorporate it into the wrapping of an entire building. The house withstood a hurricane in 1938, only to be demolished by a developer in the late 50's….(fucking developers).

Excerpts and photos taken directly from "Albert Frey, Architect" by Joseph Rosa

Comment