Steeling Home: Defining Authenticity and Integrity for Prefabricated Lustron Homes
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work216 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
RightsTo view a complete copy of this thesis please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 337-6075.
SubjectsPrefabricated houses -- Conservation and restoration
Historic buildings -- Conservation and restoration
Historic preservation -- Philosophy
Historic preservation -- Theses
Lustron Homes, post-World War II prefabricated ranch houses made of steel, are more than just architectural novelties. These precision-engineered marvels of mass production have benefited from growing awareness and preservation efforts. But in order to determine appropriate preservation strategies for Lustron Homes, we must examine the twin issues of integrity and authenticity, and how standards should be interpreted and applied. This thesis examines the question: How should authenticity and integrity be defined for the preservation of prefabricated Lustron Homes? The answers to this question will offer a new way for evaluating Lustron Homes on their own terms. By analyzing National Register nominations, guidelines, and other perspectives on assessing integrity, my research concludes that the National Register definition and criteria for integrity can be reasonably interpreted and applied to Lustron Homes. To determine integrity for a Lustron Home, one should ask: Does the Lustron Home convey its architectural and engineering significance and its identity as a postwar precision- engineered, prefabricated, mass-produced house? Authenticity is more than just a test for an historic property to pass. A firm understanding can help guide the treatment and management of a property on an ongoing basis. My analysis identifies conceptual authenticity – the expression of an historic resource’s generating principles and key conceptual values – as the most relevant approach to determining authenticity for Lustron Homes. My thesis defines conceptual authenticity for Lustron Homes as the honest expression of the values of mass production, durability, and modernity. I use this definition of authenticity to evaluate four main areas of preservation or rehabilitation methods – alterations and additions, moving and disassembly, cleaning and painting, and repair and replacement. The definition of conceptual authenticity and my interpretation of integrity standards can be adapted and applied to other types of twentieth-century prefabricated housing to supplement an integrity-based preservation approach. A Lustron preservation approach taking authenticity into account should retain or enhance the expression of the identity or “true soul” of a Lustron Home, embracing the key conceptual values of mass production, durability, and modernity. The Lustron marketing slogan, “The Lustron Home – A New Standard for Living,” represents not only the revolutionary spirit of the Lustron Home’s identity, but the optimistic postwar spirit of using mass production processes to make the dream of homeownership attainable for all Americans.