Archives For europe

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 -

mg_7001lowres

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.

martello_tower

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

Once upon a time — about 2,500 years ago — people in what is now Britain switched from building rectangular houses to building round houses: in many instances, small circular structures with wooden walls made of wattle and daub, no windows, a conical roof, and a single entrance. And for more than 2,500 years, from the early Bronze Age to the late Iron Age, they stuck with this circular design, even while people in the rest of Europe — or what later became Europe — lived in rectangular structures.

It was with the Roman conquest that the British, too, began to adopt rectangular house designs. But evidence of the region’s history of round construction can still be found in archeological sites all over the UK, from Dartmoor, Devon, England, to Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

In recent years, a number of replica round houses have been built. Below is one in Burwardsley, Cheshire, which is open to school groups and other visitors -

celtic round house

360 house

January 4, 2014 — 2 Comments

The 360 House, by the Dutch firm 123DV -

123DV, 360 house 2

round house by 123DV

300 degree house

November 10, 2013 — 2 Comments

A newly-built, near-circular house in Thornbury, England, is now on the market -

thornbury, UK

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all year round

October 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

This pretty circular house in Båstad, Sweden, was on the market earlier this year -

bastad, sweden

Beautifully located just off the beach, it was apparently build decades ago as some sort of outbuilding for the neighboring Hotel Riviera. Later it was converted into a vacation home, and later still into a permanent residence. Simple, elegant, and very cool.

Somehow in putting together my list of round houses for sale I overlooked the most fabulous of them all: Seymour Harris’ Tukal, in Hampshire, England. At an asking price of £12 million (over $18 million), it is easily the world’s most expensive circular home, but unlike some of round McMansions currently on the market, it’s more than just an ostentatious display of wealth — it actually has style and daring.

Yes, it’s monstrously large — and yes, it has its own lake, 10-acre garden and private dock — but beyond the glitz are some appealing ideas about structure, transparency and the flow of space.

tukal, beaulieu, UK 7

tukal, beaulieu 6

tukal, beaulieu 5

Designed by architect Seymour Harris in 1962 as home for himself and his wife, the house in its current iteration might be best understood as an asynchronous collaboration between Harris and architect Nic Bailey. Harris moved to the Bahamas in 1968; the house suffered through a series of bad owners and unhappy renovations, and Bailey was brought in to salvage it several years ago, when the house was bought by its current owner, Mike Browne.

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on the market

October 12, 2013 — 7 Comments

You can find round and circular-form houses for sale right now in the US, UK, Australia and Canada for prices ranging from $87,500 to $10 million.  On the lavish — and arguably garish — end of the spectrum, there’s this 1980s luxury villa on Hamilton Island, in Australia, and the “Corbetta Estate” in Los Altos Hills, California (which was the cooler and much more fun Corbetta Party House in a former incarnation).

george keck house

Bringing up the low end of the market, at a modest 696 square feet in size, is one of the many small post-war round houses in Des Moines, Iowa.

A few other houses stand out -

You can also find two round houses for sale in the UK, one in Portland, Dorset, selling for £925,000, and the other in Sidmouth, Devon, selling for £849,950.

peace on earth

October 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

Congratulations to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. Its semi-circular headquarters, in The Hague, was designed by the late Gerhard Kallmann.