Design Through the Decades - Phoenix, AZ - 1970s Exterior

October 16th, 2008 · 6 Comments

Design Through the Decades - Part 4

Today we’ll look at the exterior architecture of homes in Phoenix, Arizona in the 1970s.

By 1970, the population of Phoenix had grown to 581,562, enough to move it from the 29th largest US city in 1960 to the 20th largest city in 1970.  To see historical photos of Phoenix in the 1970s, click here.

Built in 1971 in the traditional ranch style format.  Cookie-cutter floor plans: you enter the house’s living room, walk forward 10 feet, turn left, walk down hallway, one bedroom on the left, one bathroom on the right, walk forward, 2nd bedroom on the left, linen closet at the end of the hallway, and master bedroom on the right with a 3/4 bath.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Also built in 1971 and featuring slump block.  Personally, I think slump block is ugly, but it is supposedly helpful with heating and cooling.  A slump block is hollow in the middle which allows for cooling in the summer and heat retention in the winter.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Another slump block home.  The emphasis was on energy savings in hot Phoenix versus visual appeal.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

A slump block home on a grander scale.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Can we just call this architectural whimsy?
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Mass production of cheap affordable homes began in the 1970s.  It was all about building homes quickly and at lower cost.  Block wall homes took longer to build.  Wood frame construction was quicker.  And you could cover the exterior with cheap T-111 masonite siding.  Builder John F. Long was responsible for many of these T-111 sided homes with thin metal framed windows that rattle when you close the front door.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Here’s a two-story home built in 1979.  Two-story homes still were not common in Phoenix in the 1970s.  Land was still cheap, so builders did not have an incentive to build up.  This would all change in the 1980s.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

The Mediterranean look became popular in the 1970s.  You can see many of these Mediterranean-inspired homes in the Moon Valley area of Phoenix.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Another Mediterranean/Spanish design.  This style was quite popular in the master-planned community of McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale which was developed in the late 1970s.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Red/pink slump block was an alternative to the tan slump block as seen at this Glendale, Arizona home.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Arches were used as architectural flair in the 1970s.
1970s exterior Phoenix homes Design Through the Decades

Tags: Design Through the Decades · 1970s · Exterior

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 john // Oct 16, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    love this ,,,very interesting.

  • 2 Ugly House Photos » Blog Archive » Design Through the Decades - Phoenix, AZ - 1980s Exterior // Oct 17, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    […] Built in 1981, this home’s exterior was made of T-111 masonite siding, as was mentioned in the 1970s Exterior post.  Cheap materials meant affordable houses.  Thankfully, T-111 siding moved out of fashion in the 1980s. […]

  • 3 David // Oct 17, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    This is fascinating. I really enjoy this series.

  • 4 dan // Oct 21, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Re: “architectural whimsy” — we used to refer to the arch and brick look as “Early Taco Bell” — many of the homes with that feature bear a striking resemblance to the buildings the fast food place was building at the time.

  • 5 Greeney // Mar 13, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Homes from the 70s also had aluminum wiring, a major fire hazard.

  • 6 Tim Houston // Nov 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Hello,
    My wife and I just purchased a retirement home in Mesa, AZ. The house was built in 1979 and has wood siding on the exterior and an asphalt shingle roof. Is there someone who could use current pictures of the exterior of the home show options for upgrading to a more modern southwestern appearance? Thanks, Tim Houston

Leave a Comment