Archives For modernism

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.

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no front door

March 23, 2019 — Leave a comment

The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists,” explain the designers of this tiny, round, mobile, convertible house –

wright’s round house

March 22, 2018 — 2 Comments

The New York Times has some nice photos of the round house (actually, double-round house, with super-cool round carport) that famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1948. It’s now on the market for $1.5 million.

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romanian circle house

November 13, 2017 — 1 Comment

In Bucharest, Romania, a circle house from architects Razvan Barsan & Partners –

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battersea mews

April 21, 2017 — 1 Comment

In London, just off Battersea High Street, an oval house for sale

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a labour of love

January 24, 2016 — 2 Comments

She practiced alternative medicine; he was a doctor. But despite his conventional facade it was he — and decidedly not she — who dreamed of living in a circular house.

The doctor, property-owner and soon-to-be-round-house-builder explained his thinking on an episode of the British television show Grand Designs. His architect sent him a drawing, he said, that was a perfect circle. “I took one look at it, and thought, that’s great; it’s what nature would do: nature doesn’t grow squares … it just grabbed me.”

The story of how this man took a compelling idea and made a house out of it — and how he somehow managed to convince his reluctant spouse to stick with him during the process — is unexpectedly moving.

round house

milton keynes round house

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round house

At the end of the episode, narrator Kevin McCloud speaks about the house’s structure, but he could just as easily be describing the couple’s relationship: “the contradiction between the square and the round is completely resolvable. A building can take opposite ideas and synthesize from them something new and exciting.”

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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.”

house no. 25

June 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

house 25

300 degree house

November 10, 2013 — 3 Comments

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

thornbury, UK

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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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