a concrete mushroom

July 12, 2019 — 1 Comment

Designed by architect George Bissell in 1963 as a demonstration house for a nationwide association of cement companies, this house was meant to prove that concrete homes were modern, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. A “concrete ‘mushroom,’ of unsurpassed strength and stability,” said the advertising brochure for the house, “it is a major step forward in the development of minimum-maintenance housing, as well as a satisfying esthetic achievement.”

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The first house in the new master-planned community of Laguna Niguel, in Orange County, California, it was visited by thousands of people when it was first built. All concrete and glass, with a floating, scalloped concrete roof, it was unlike any other house in the neighborhood, either before or since. While it didn’t spark a craze for round, all-concrete homes, as its developers may have hoped, it did manage to find sympathetic owners who didn’t tear it down or renovate it beyond recognition.

Bought in 2005 by Einar Johnson and Pat Gough, two devoted fans of mid-century modern architecture, the house has been restored, enhanced, and polished to perfection.

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Its curves are complemented by circular decks, a round hot tub, and plenty of curvaceous furniture. “Everything had to be round,” one of its owners explained in 2015. “Anything square just wouldn’t work here.”

An April 1964 advertisement for the house: “the welcome mat is out” –


One response to a concrete mushroom

    Livon Diramerian July 18, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Fixtures better be in harmony with design.

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