Henry Sprott Long, whose interest in architecture was piqued as a child by the construction of his parents’ Colonial Revival home in Jasper, Alabama, is now in his seventh decade of practicing architecture in the classical tradition. The Residential Architecture of Henry Sprott Long and Associates is a chronicle of the domestic side of this practice, beginning with a biographical sketch and detailed observations of his firm’s work. A portfolio of contemporary color photographs lavishly illustrates the designs, from a 1940 temple-form house on a hillside in Mountain Brook, Alabama, to a 1989 Regency-style home on the Wilmington River near Savannah, Georgia. A concluding interview with Sprott Long outlines his firm’s residential design process.
Mountain Brook is a beautifully designed and maintained garden suburb in the mountainous woodlands south of downtown Birmingham. Sprott Long, his son Hank, and their associates in the firm continue to carry forward the professional and artistic standards established in the suburb by architects and landscape architects sixty-five years ago. Today, a “Sprott Long house” is a well-known phrase there, and most of the houses in this volume are from Mountain Brook, but the firm has also designed projects throughout the region, and homes are illustrated from other cities in Alabama and in the neighboring states of Georgia and Florida as well.
Sprott Long was graduated from Georgia Tech in 1935 at age twenty with a bachelor of science in architecture. He was educated during the transition from historical eclecticism to modernism, but as a young man he was in Normandy on two occasions and was intrigued by the domestic architecture of France, especially the rural and vernacular. He has said. “Above all else an architect must be observant,” and his heart has retained the lessons of history, a certain warmth, an admiration of the landscape in the siting of the building, a fondness for time-tested materials and plans, details, and the essentials of styles. The Residential Architecture of Henry Sprott Long and Associates is a testament to the lasting appeal of his work—a clear but quiet simplicity, with due respect for the needs and tastes of his clients and the standards of classicism. With typical humility, this gentleman of the Old South states: “That architecture is best which best satisfies the client.”
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