20TH CENTURY

A-FRAMES (1960-1980)

A-Frames became extremely popular throughout the United States, especially in areas where recreation was developing. For the most part, A-Frames are simple buildings with small square footage. A-Frame kits were widely distributed throughout the country. Lofts are common in the interior leaving space for a grand room. Residential use of the style was more common than commercial or governmental use. However, some national chain stores used the style to distinguish their buildings from others. Religious organizations often incorporated the A-Frame style in their design. As the style matured, buildings incorporated other roofs in addition to gables.

Primary Stylistic Features
  • Prominent steeply pitched roof with eaves that reach or nearly reach grade.
  • Lofts incorporated into the design.
Secondary Stylistic Features
  • Windows dominate the main elevation.
  • Porches and decks are prevalent.
  • Wood is a common cladding choice.
  • Open floor plan.
  • Great room.
  • Deep set eaves.

Evaluation Considerations

To be eligible, individually or as part of a district, an A-Frame must maintain its distinctive roof. A-Frames can be found throughout Alaska and in many cases may be placed near Sheds or Geodesic Domes, other popular styles during this period. For A-Frames to be individually eligible both primary stylistic features must be present and a majority of secondary features must exist. A-Frames may be found in mixed style districts. To contribute to the district, A-Frames must embody both primary stylistic features. Not all A-Frames have gable roofs, so evaluators must consider the rarer subtypes for eligibility. Materials, design, workmanship, setting and feeling are important aspects of integrity when nominating A-Frames.


For Further Information

Randl, Chad, A-frame. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004.