San Diego's Horizon Home Contest Houses

Photo by Julius Shulman

The Concrete Industries sponsored a national contest in the early 1960s to display to the public, architects and to the building trades the merits of using concrete products in home building. Three Horizon Home Contest Winners were built in San Diego.

By Keith York
Photo by Julius Shulman

For several years in the early 1960s, a national competition created a number of progressive designs utilizing concrete and masonry exclusively in the design. The Concrete Industries sponsored the contest to display to the public, architects and to the building trades the merits of using concrete products in home building.

From the brochure for the 1964 Horizon Home, "The Concrete Industries Horizon Homes Program in its fourth year is sponsored jointly by the Portland Cement Association, National Ready-Mixed Concrete Association, National Concrete Masonry Association, Prestressed Concrete Institute, and Asbestos Cement Products Association."

According to Robert Des Lauriers, “Around 1961-62 our firm was selected to do a residence using concrete & concrete masonry as the primary construction material. This was a joint effort by the three major National Concrete Associations, San Diego Transit Concrete Co., American Housing Guild, the builders and our firm.” Des Lauriers continued, “This was a national competition, and I guess we won the honor of being the first recipient of this endeavor. Our model traveled all over the US and was returned in a mess, as I remember."

The project garnered a large amount of press for Bob, "...newspaper articles and write-ups...three pages in the L.A. Times...” The home was, '1900 sq. ft., roofed with a concrete thin shell hyperbolic paraboloid, walls were the first use of mortar-less grout lock masonry. A 4 bedroom 2-1/2 bath, extremely flexible floor plan. And the kicker was it only cost $20,000 to build (1961 prices were more like $18-$20 per square ft.). Also, there was a hyperbolic paraboloid tree house for the kids."

The 1963 illustrated book ‘Horizon Homes for Better Living’ drew from “over 150 Horizon Homes constructed throughout the United States during 1961 and 1962.” The publication included Julius Shulman photographs highlighting Hester and Jones’ model home in University City. Builder Charles C. Richardson Co., Inc. reportedly was hired by neighbor Charlie Hughes to build a variation of the model home just a few doors away at 2608 Angell Avenue.

John Mock's design in La Jolla was given the 1964 Merit award by the concrete industry - including Portland Cement Association, National Ready-Mix Concrete Association, National Concrete Masonry Association, Pre-Stressed Concrete Institute, and the Mineral Fiber Products Bureau.

While each project was unique, Schrock Construction Company worked with Hendrick and Mock to build the fourth design. Their advertising materials boasted that over 1,000 visited the home on opening day - the house remained on display during "National Home Week." Hendrick and Mock's design was on display between September 20-27, 1964.

Partial List of Projects

Horizon Home Contest Residence for American Housing Guild (1961)
5708 Abernathy Way, Clairemont Mesa
Designed by Robert Des Lauriers

Horizon Home Contest Winner (1961-62)
2726 Angell Avenue, University City
Designed by Hester & Jones

Concrete Industries Horizon Home (1964)
6130 Calle Vera Cruz, La Jolla
Designed by Hendrick and Mock

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