In London, just off Battersea High Street, an oval house for sale –
The round house in Bolinas, California, is or at least was a masterpiece –
I have to admit that I’ve seen very few photos of it, and those that I have seen are nearly 50 years old. Yet the house still exists — one can find it on Google maps — and if it looks the way it did in 1966, it’s one of the most beautiful round houses in the country.
The happy result of a multi-year collaboration between architect Robert B. Marquis and woodworker Art Carpenter, the house’s owner, it showcases Marquis’ structural knowledge and Carpenter’s love of wood. Begun in about 1958, when Carpenter moved to Bolinas from San Francisco, the house wasn’t finished until 1965. “It was completely hand built,” said Carpenter’s son Tripp, who grew up there; every shelf, doorknob, table and counter was custom designed and made by hand.
Add this fantastic house to your list of reasons to visit London –
In 2005, British designer Tom Dixon bought a disused 1930s water tower in north London, collaborating with sustainable architectural firm SUSD to convert the landmark structure into a home.
Watch the building being constructed on the tower’s concrete base –
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 –
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.”
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.”
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.
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 –
Another unbuilt round house was the Ludd M. Spivey house, which Wright designed during the same period.
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 –