Archives For new york

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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halfway to infinity

January 18, 2018 — 1 Comment

Jack Lenor Larsen, a pioneering textile designer, designed and built a round house in East Hampton, NY, in the early 1960s –

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The house was inspired by his 1961 trip to South Africa, where he saw some of the traditional round houses of the Ndebele people. In an interview conducted years after he sold the house, Larsen described his design process, and some of his thoughts on living in the round –

[W]ith a round house, you can make a compass out of a piece of string, and Win and I said, “Well, here’s the main house; here’s the guest house; there’s the studio and tool garden.” Rounds and rounds and rounds – obsessively round …

Round rooms are very interesting, because you define space by corners and a round room is halfway to infinity. It does have a floor and ceiling, but it was special.

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pleasantly round

December 3, 2017 — 1 Comment

A beautiful double-round house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is now for sale in Pleasantville, New York. Built in the late 1940s, the house’s circular design prefigures the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

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The asking price is $1.5 million.

A spinning, earthquake and hurricane resistant, energy-efficient dome, with a Guggenheim-inspired spiral staircase is on the market in New Paltz –

 

If you’re not ready to buy it, you can rent it for the weekend. As the owners will tell you, spending time in the dome is liberating.

“People really do behave differently in the round space,” one of the owners says. “It’s just free. It’s free-flowing, free of walls, free of constraints. It’s a space, versus a room, versus a box. There’s no limitation.”

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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circle dreams

October 26, 2013 — 1 Comment

The circle-studded facade of NYC’s Dream Downtown Hotel –

dream downtown hotel, NYC

The hotel is the latest incarnation of an iconic 1966 building designed by Louisiana architect Albert C. Ledner, known for a sort of playful, oddball modernism. Just off Ninth Avenue, stretching between West 16th and 17th Street, the building was recently transformed by Handel Architects. The building’s 16th Street facade, above, was covered in shiny stainless steel, as was its 17th Street facade (on the left, below, in its original red-brick cladding).

maritime hotel

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The building’s circular motif — equally in evidence in the adjoining Ledner-designed structure, the white tile and concrete Maritime Hotel — reflects the structure’s history. Both buildings were originally annexes to the headquarters of the National Maritime Union: the porthole windows were a coy reference to life at sea.

Ledner, whose use of circular forms extends from his professional to his personal life, or vice-versa, lives in a round house of his own design in New Orleans.

on the market

October 12, 2013 — 8 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.

360 ° views of a 360 ° house

September 11, 2013 — 1 Comment

A round house on a private island in Mamaroneck, NY, is now on sale for $2.595 million (down from its original asking price of $3.1 million) –

mamaroneck round house

This swirling video shows the circular dwelling from the air.

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Currently on sale for $1.2 million, this rotating dome in New Paltz can turn a full circle in five minutes.  The house was built using a kit from France called Domespace and has bamboo floors, stone cabinets, and a central spiral staircase.

It looks “like a space ship,” said the real estate agent handling the sale. “But it’s an amazing home. It’s the coolest home I’ve ever seen.”

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a round icon disappears

November 26, 2011 — 1 Comment

Airport control towers are one of the few structures for which round design is the norm. While the circular form of La Guardia Airport’s 1964 control tower was, in itself, not surprising, the tower was still original, playful and fun.  Now it is gone.

If you haven’t flown through La Guardia Airport in recent months, you’re in for a surprise. Whether it’s a pleasant surprise or an unhappy one depends on your feelings about curvaceous, eccentric, whimsical architecture …. No other airport had anything quite like this porthole-pocked cynosure; a hometown creation by Wallace K. Harrison, the consummate New York establishment architect of the mid-20th century.

Not everyone appreciated the structure.  In reporting on its April 16, 1964 opening, the New York Times said it “looks like a new design for a giant ice cream cone.” Writing in 1980, influential architecture critic Paul Goldberger compared the tower, “with its plethora of portholes,” to “a concrete piece of Swiss cheese.”

Others, like Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, admired it.  In “Delirious New York” (1978), Mr. Koolhaas described the dialectic in Mr. Harrison’s work “between the rectangle and the kidney shape, between rigidity and freedom.”

Ultimately, he wrote, the liberating impulse surrenders to the grid. “Only his curve remains as a fossil of the freer language.”