Gregory Ain, FBI-Hounded Architect With The Fairest Visions Of America

Street view of Dunsmuir Flats, which were designed by Gregory Ain
1281 S Dunsmuir, LA photo by Downtowngal is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Gregory Ain's Dunsmuir Flats.

Gregory Ain wanted to build social housing in Los Angeles. During a lengthy, illustrious career he won a Guggenheim grant to research small, inexpensive, single family homes. Ultimately, the homes would feature in the design of affordable housing communities, though not of a form that would be recognized today as public, or social, housing.

Described in the following article, Ain was:

“. . . a member of a labor union, the Federation of Architects, Engineers and Chemists, as well as civil rights organizations like the Hollywood Independent Citizens Committee (which lobbied for New Deal causes and world peace), the Civil Rights Congress (a racial justice group), and the Los Angeles Committee for Protection of Foreign Born (devoted to fighting the deportation of people accused of communism), among others. All of these groups, at various times, were perceived as communist fronts.”

As a result he was a person of extreme interest to the FBI. Even his babysitter was an FBI informant, one of some 21 who worked to establish his criminally un-American behaviour. Neither the informants, nor the FBI ever found him to be more than a social visionary.

Read a lengthy article in THE Nation that takes some time to explore Gregory Ain’s alternate vision of the United States — a man the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover labelled The Most Dangerous Architect in America