Event Spotlight: Modern Home Tour Austin

Coming February 7th, the annual Modern Home Tour Austin will feature 16 spectacular homes designed by some of Austin’s top modern architects. The self-paced tour, running from 11am – 6pm, gives locals a chance to view and explore the latest in contemporary architecture and decor. Home shoppers especially won’t want to miss this; some of these beautiful dwellings are on sale!

Go to modernhometouraustin.com to find out more.

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January 30th, 2015|0 Comments

Mid-Century Modernism: Blurring the Lines Between Indoor and Outdoor Spaces since 1935

One of the most important aspects of the mid-century modern movement was minimalism. And what could be more minimalist than walls that seem to disappear in sheet glass, allowing the surrounding outdoor environment to become part of the room? This blurring of the lines between outdoor and indoor spaces is often what makes mid-century dwellings truly breathtaking. Outdoor verandas, living areas, patios, and courtyards all seem to blend together indistinguishably so that one barely knows where outdoor ends and indoor begins.

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Home by John Matthias, 1959. Photo courtesy Trop Urbaine.

It is this piece of modernism history that we take a look at today, with some of the homes that best illustrate this outdoor/indoor architectural technique.

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Wiley Residence by Frederick Liebhardt & Eugene Weston III in Del Mar, CA – 1965. Photo courtesy of Mid-Century Modern Freak.

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1961 Home in San Diego, CA by Henry Hester. Photo courtesy Mid-Century Modern Freak.

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Eames House for Vogue Magazine, 1954. Photo courtesy Mid-Century Modern Freak.

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1959 Home in San Mateo, CA by A. Quincy Jones. Photo courtesy of Mid-Century Modern Freak.

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The Hilltop House by Thornton Ladd, 1953. Photo courtesy of Better Living Through Design.

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Albert Frey House II in Palm Springs, CA – 1963. Photo courtesy of Mid-Century Modern Freak.

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Home by Richard Neutra, 1955. Photo courtesy Indulgy.

January 29th, 2015|0 Comments

Modern Earth Architecture: Making an Ancient Process New Again

Building structures out of rammed earth is a process that has been in use for thousands of years. Especially in regions where lumber is scarce, it is an economical and long-lasting housing solution.

Lately, architects are returning to the age old method of building with layers of packed clay and soil, to create beautiful modern masterpieces that are inexpensive to build and sustainable to live in.

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Home in Merricks, Australia by Wood Marsh Architects – 2011. Photo courtesy of Earth Architecture.

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Home in Merricks, Australia by Wood Marsh Architects – 2011. Photo courtesy of Earth Architecture.

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Desert Courtyard House in Arizona by Wendell Burnette Architects –  2013. Photo courtesy of Wendell Burnette Architects.

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Earth House in Victoria, Australia by Jolson Architecture – 2010. Photo courtesy of ArchDaily.

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Earth House in Victoria, Australia by Jolson Architecture – 2010. Photo courtesy of ArchDaily.

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Rammed earth and glass house in Medellin, Colombia. Photo courtesy of Inspiration Green.

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Copper House Las Vagas, Nevada by assemblageSTUDIO – 2009. Photo courtesy Archdaily.

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Family home in Mooloolaba, Australia by David Oliver Greenway Architects. Photo courtesy Inspiration Green.

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Single -family dwelling in Baja, by Betão e Taipa – 2006. Photo courtesy of Betão e Taipa.

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Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in British Columbia – 2006. Photo courtesy of ArchDaily.

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Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in British Columbia – 2006. Photo courtesy of ArchDaily.

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Lacey Residence in Arizona by Jones Studio.  Photo courtesy Inhabitat.

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Lacey Residence in Arizona by Jones Studio.  Photo courtesy Inhabitat.

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Hinterland House in Australia, by Morris Partnership – 2010. Photo courtesy of Contemporist.

 

January 27th, 2015|0 Comments

Wallace Neff’s Delightful Bubble Houses

Wallace Neff was perhaps best known for the homes he designed for Hollywood stars like Judy Garland, Groucho Marx and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The Spanish Colonial Revival style he employed for Hollywood definitely has its place in architectural history, but today we’d like to look at some of his less-known designs – the Bubble Houses.

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One of the most interesting aspects of Neff’s Bubble Houses was the unusual methods he used to construct them. By inflating giant balloons and covering them with reinforced concrete, he was able to create circular structures that were completely open on the inside. He called this method “airform” and had hopes that the inexpensive process would be used to build economical housing for the masses.

Alas, the Bubble House never did catch on in the United States, but a few bubble communities were built in Egypt, Brazil, and West Africa during the 1940s and 1950s. See and read more about Wallace Neff’s Bubble Houses in Jeffrey Head’s book, No Nails, No Lumber: The Bubble Houses of Wallace Neff.

Today, only one Bubble House remains in the United States; it is located in Pasadena, CA and has been kept up beautifully by owners Sari and Steve Roden. Read more in this article by the LA Times.

Pasadena Bubble House

Bubble House Pasadena

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Photos courtesy Los Angeles Times.

Bubble Communities Around the World

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January 22nd, 2015|0 Comments

Architecture Spotlight: Modern Cob Houses

While sustainable housing is all the rage, many so-called “eco” homes require an enormous amount of materials and energy to build. Cob houses, on the other, can be built with the dirt, gravel, and sand that is excavated from the job site. The material works as a natural insulator and is incredibly durable.

And if you thought that earthen structures were not quite as beautiful, take a look at these:

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Image courtesy of Plachaart.

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Image courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

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Image courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

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Photo courtesy of Bottz.co.il.

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 Photo source: Indulgy.

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Image courtesy of Plachaart.

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 Photo source: Indulgy.

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Photo courtesy of Morning Glory Kitsch.

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 Photo source: Indulgy.

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Photo courtesy of  @cosmic-dust on Tumblr.

 

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Photo source: Indulgy.

January 14th, 2015|0 Comments