Archives For space age

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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Noted science fiction author Robert Heinlein designed and built this house –

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Together with his wife Virginia, Heinlein lived in the house for 20 years, from 1967 to 1987.

A news article from 1985, calling it a “futuristic round house,” said that its 80 feet of book shelves displayed Heinlein’s own works, translated into 29 languages. It also noted that the author, “whose writings advocate space exploration and open marriage, has filled his home with photographs from the U.S. space program and artistic renderings of lithe women.”

The house is located in the Bonny Doon neighborhood of Santa Cruz, California.

 

romanian circle house

November 13, 2017 — 1 Comment

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

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Shaped like the Hollywood idea of a flying saucer, the Futuro is a prefab, portable, fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic vacation home

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futuro house

Somewhere between 80 and 96 Futuros were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but at least eight have been demolished. Atlas Obscura has put together a map of every known Futuro House left in the world.

 

the future is not yet here

January 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

The vacation house of the future, as conceived in 1957 by automobile designer James R. Powers

vacation house of the future

It has stylistic affinities with the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, built during the same period –

theme building, LAX

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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.”

The floor plan of the original space age round house — the home of George, Jane, Judy, Elroy and Astro Jetson –

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Space age round house in Wilton, Connecticut, designed by architect Richard T. Foster in 1968. “Floating 12 feet off the ground and 72 feet in diameter, the Round House is walled in glass, covered over and under with cedar shingles, and set on a cylindrical base retained by walls of stone.” The house rotates on its base.

A closer look at the house:

If you can stand the cloying mood music, here’s a video tour of the house, showing off its open floor plan, “spacious, spa-like bath,” stainless steel appliances, custom Ash cabinetry, and pristine surroundings.

As of June 2010, the house was on the market for $1.75 million. In 2008, before the market fell, it was selling for $2.3 million.