Archives For architects

into the futuro

December 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

If you can get to London in the next 10 days, you will have the rare chance to visit a restored Futuro House. A prefabricated, spaceship-like structure, the Futuro House was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a holiday cabin -

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craig barnes futuro

Built of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic, and measuring 26 feet in diameter, the Futuro House sits on a metal stand; it was meant to be easy to build and easy to transport. The idea was to mass produce the structures and sell them around the world, but their design found little favor with the public. Fewer than 100 Futuro Houses were ever built; only about 60 of them exist today, many in disrepair. (For the closest thing to a full list of those that have survived, visit FuturoHouse.net, which has tracked down Futuros in Japan, Russia, Malaysia and Ukraine, among other places.)

Artist Craig Barnes discovered the house above while on vacation in South Africa. He bought it, dismantled it, shipped it to the UK, and spent the past 18 months restoring it to its former glory. At Matt’s Gallery in east London, it is being used as a temporary space for an “intimate and informal series of talks, discussions, lectures, exhibitions, screenings and performances at 4pm every day.”

on the market

October 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

An early 19th century Martello tower in Suffolk, England, is now on the market. Built as a rampart against a feared French invasion — one of 11 Martello towers that still line the Suffolk coast — it was converted to a residence in 2010. Architect Stuart Piercy and designer Duncan Jackson collaborated on the project, creating “one of the most original and soul-stirring modern homes in Britain.

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The asking price is £995,000 (about $1.58 million). If you can’t afford to buy it, you may be able to rent it for a holiday.

house no. 25

June 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

house 25

Two of the most creative architects ever to embrace the round form, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff, were both born on June 8—Wright in 1867, and Goff in 1904.

For Wright, the circular form symbolized freedom, an escape from the traditional residential box. As he explained in 1952, “a box is a containment. I tried to abolish the box.” Wright designed at least 14 round and semi-circular houses, as well as, most famously, the spiraling Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Not all of his round house designs were built; sadly, some of his most beautiful and innovative efforts never made it beyond the planning stage.

Wright’s 1938 project for Ralph Jester, meant for a suburban housing community in Palos Verdes, California, was his first attempt at a circular residence -

jester house plans

Another unbuilt round house was the Ludd M. Spivey house, which Wright designed during the same period.

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Designed by maverick American architect Bruce Goff, the Ruth Ford House — known variously as the Round House, Coal House, and Umbrella House — is a creative tour de force.  It could not look less like neighboring houses in suburban Aurora, Illinois, where it was built in 1947-49, and local people took it as an architectural affront. Fortunately, as the photo below attests, the owners of the house were undaunted -

goff, ford house, life mag, 1951

Life Magazine published a several-page spread on the house in 1951, with lovely color photos by Eliot Elisofon of the house’s interior and exterior.

360 house

January 4, 2014 — 2 Comments

The 360 House, by the Dutch firm 123DV -

123DV, 360 house 2

round house by 123DV

les maisons ballons

November 21, 2013 — 2 Comments

A colony of Wallace Neff’s bubble houses (“maisons ballons”) in Dakar — as they look now -

neff, bubble houses, dakar, 2013

And as they looked in 1949, when they were built -

neff, bubble houses, dakar

360 degrees of architecture

November 18, 2013 — 3 Comments

cecil alexander, 1958

Cecil Alexander’s circular house in Atlanta, on the cover of Florida Architect in April 1958. Finished in 1957, the house was featured in Life magazine in November of that year, and in Progressive Architecture in November 1959.

Back in the late 1950s, when living in the suburbs was understood to be the common aspiration of mankind, the magazine Suburbia Today asked this question of its readers. In an article about the “unusual suburban home” of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Benson, whose circular floor plan offered ample open space for entertaining guests, it gave an appealing glimpse of life in the round.

Stunning views, tasteful furnishings, elegant cocktail parties — a round home was modern and glamorous, the magazine suggested.

mario corbett, round house, sausalito

The Walter Bensons wanted their house to be round so that they could get maximum exposure to their magnificent views. To live way, way up on the top of a mountain in a house that seems to melt in with its surroundings; to look freely all about you and see the mountain ridges to the side, the bay and ocean below, and the teeming city across that you must be part of and yet can turn away from at will — this was the dream of the Bensons.

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los feliz lautner

November 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

The Harvey Residence, in LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, designed by John Lautner in characteristically exuberant style -

john lautner, harvey house 4

john lautner, harvey house

john lautner, harvey house 3

john lautner, harvey house 2

Built in 1950, the house was said to be in terrible shape in 1998 when it was bought and restored by actress Kelly Lynch and writer Mitch Glazer. Lautner principal Helena Arahuete led the restoration, and the original builder, John de la Veaux, came back to assist on it.

The swirling living room is stunning.