chapter  3
Site, Form, and Style
Pages 39

The primary features that distinguished the Architects’ Small House Service Bureau from other plan-book companies of the day were customization to the site and the use of design elements and principles and architectural styles. The ASHSB rose to prominence following World War I and in response to the housing shortage as veterans returned home. Government programs and the creation of the Federal Housing Administration promoted home ownership as a part of the American Dream.1 Although many plan-book agencies already existed, the industry erupted in response to the increased need for house designs. Few of these agencies had licensed architects on staff. The ASHSB was unique in that it had an architectonly membership that focused on design excellence and was endorsed by the AIA and DOC. Further, an ASHSB member could customize a plan-book design to the site when needed. To achieve the mission of the ASHSB to provide welldesigned and solidly constructed houses for people, the organization developed an integrated design review process including a Sketch Committee and best practices for sturdy construction to which all members adhered.