13 APR 2020

The Ultimate Isolation Dream Houses

We are counting ourselves very lucky to be able to stay in a warm, dry, cosy house with loved ones while we take shelter during the Covid-19 lockdown. Being the design and architecture lovers that we are, we've also come up with a list of our ultimate modernist homes that we'd love to visit and definitely wouldn't mind being isolated in.

Words by Emma Eagle




Image above shows the vantage point of 1960 Pierre Koenig 'Stahl House', Case Study House 22, Los Angeles
Image Credit / Getty Institute, Photography by Julius Schulman


- - - - - - - - - -

1929 – Eileen Gray 'E-1027', Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

This home is often discussed as the subject of many controversies due to the painted mural additions which were added after its construction by Le Corbusier. Irish architect Eileen Gray (1878–1906) remains one of the earliest well-known female architect / designers of the modernist era. At 48 years old, this was her first architectural work, built for her own purposes as a retreat.

During the following decade Gray split up with her partner Jean Badovici and he took ownership of the house. The design was misattributed to both Badovici, who was an architecture critic and had contributed to the design, and Le Corbusier. The famous Le Corbusier had been invited to the house and added mural artworks to the walls against Gray's wishes.

Image Credit / Dezeen, Photography by Manuel Bougot
Image Credit / anothermag.com, Photography by Mary Gaudin





- - - - - - - - - -

1939 Frank Lloyd Wright 'Fallingwater', Mill Run, Pennsylania

Easily the most well known house in the world, Fallingwater is an Arts and Crafts design by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959). It also displays some modernist qualities. He is best remembered for this work and also the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The client, Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. and his wife Liliane met the architect as their son began an apprenticeship at Taliesin, the training centre and studio directed by Lloyd Wright.

The commission was a blank slate offer and reportedly Frank Lloyd Wright created the drawings for the site in two hours prior to a client meeting as Kaufmann drove to see him. The structure was not predicted to be situated over the waterfall. It utilised a number of cantilevered forms and there wasn't instant agreement about whether it would perform. Cue a battle of egos, threats and secretive additions to add strength to the design. The final piece, effortlessly nestled into the natural surroundings with a waterfall which appears to run through it, is a true masterpiece.

Image Credit / Ori Rittenberg
Image Credit / Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Photography by Christopher Little





- - - - - - - - - -

1960 Pierre Koenig 'Stahl House', Case Study House 22, Los Angeles

Epitomising post-war optimism and a new wave of understated, progressive Hollywood glamour, this house was made famous by the iconic images of photographer Julius Schulman. It was designed as part of a series featured by Arts and Architecture magazine, the Case Study program (1945–1966). Architect Pierre Koenig (1925–2004) designed both #21 and #22 houses, featuring clean lines, open plan living and floor to ceiling glass. With Stahl House, the extensive glass panels neatly elevated the roof to have a floating appearance, extending out over the surrounding hills and creating an inspired integration with the landscape.

Image Credit / Getty Institute, Photography by Julius Schulman

Image at the top of this page shows the vantage point over Los Angeles Image Credit / Getty Institute, Photography by Julius Schulman





- - - - - - - - - -

1964 Richard Neutra 'Kaufmann Desert House', Palm Springs

Austrian born American architect Richard Neutra (1892–1970) is one of the central figures of modernist architecture. He interpreted the uncompromising international modernist style to a West Coast US environment in the post-war era. He focused on human use of space, comfort and with each design, the surrounding landscape was given sincere consideration.

A decade on from 'Fallingwater', the same client, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., commissioned the development of a further retreat house in the Palm Springs desert. This home is one of the most loved modernist residential designs in history. We've visited it ourselves, admiring the thoughtful combination of materials, expert layering of forms and how it sits in front of the mountainous backdrop as a reflection of the terrain.

Image Credit / figaro.fr
Image Credit / Getty Institute, Photography by Julius Schulman
Image Credit / Getty Institute, Photography by Julius Schulman





- - - - - - - - - -

1968 John Lautner 'Elrod House', Palm Springs

Elrod House features the signature bold, graphic elements which are regular features of the works of John Lautner. Set in the hills above Palm Springs, this house was an impressive design statement created for noted interior designer Arthur Elrod. Extensive glass, brutalist concrete forms and loose arrangements of rock are integrated seamlessly to create large, open plan spaces and host pop era furniture.

Lautner (1911–1994) was trained as an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed over 200 buildings, mostly residential. He remained connected to the concepts learned from his mentor however he also developed a unique perspective that stretches into the beginnings of brutalism.

Image Credit / Dwell, Photography by Jordan Kushins
Image Credit / MBRGR





- - - - - - - - - -

1989 Antti Lovag 'Palais Bulles', Théoule-sur-Mer, France

Hungarian architect Antti Lovag (1920–2014) trained with the iconic designer and architect, Jean Prouvé. This unconventional home, built for French industrialist Pierre Burnard, was named Palais Bulles, or "Palace of Bubbles." Lovag focused on organic architecture which was sympathetic to natural human movement. Architecture was a "form of play – spontaneous, joyful, full of surprise." Lovag worked in a very unplanned, freeform way as well. Clients were offered the opportunity to select the placement of windows on site and the forms of the structure were created in situ and positioned individually.

Image Credit / The Maison Bernard Endowment Fund, Photography by Yves Gellie
Image Credit / New York Times, BF Images
Image Credit / home-designing.com





- - - - - - - - - -

2011 Tadao Ando 'House in Monterrey, Mexico'

Japanese architect Tadao Ando (b. 1941) is known for his work in ultra simple, geometric formed concrete. The resulting structures are typically elegant, minimal and reflective spaces.

This dwelling is a classic Ando combination of water and sculptural concrete panels, creating a sophisticated and confident, timeless design. Ando remains firmly rooted in his Japanese culture however his work has a unique, global perspective informed by modernist masters Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Louis Kahn.

Image Credit / Ignant, Photography by Edmund Sumner
Image Credit / Azure Magazine
Image Credit / Azure Magazine





- - - - - - - - - -

2014 Peter Pichler, Bolzano Italy

The youngest of the architects mentioned on this page, Peter Pichler (b. 1982) worked at a number of prominent firms including Zaha Hadid Architects and Rem Koolhaas while studying. He has been a speaker at international archietcture conferences and was a finalist at the Dezeen Awards for Emerging Architect of the Year.

This work offers a fresh perspective. With a crisp, linear, mirrored facade at the entrance, the lines become softer and more sculptural to the back with living spaces defined by organic lines and full height glass to enjoy the view of the property's vineyard.

Image Credit / Arch Daily, Photography by Oskar Da Riz
Image Credit / Arch Daily, Photography by Oskar Da Riz
Image Credit / Arch Daily, Photography by Oskar Da Riz





- - - - - - - - - -

2017 Ricardo Bofill 'La Fabrica', Barcelona

The ambitious works completed by Ricardo Bofill (b. 1939) and his studio are extremey impressive in both scale and number. 'La Muralla Roja' (1968, 'The Red Wall') is the project we first noticed of his. A continuous wall graduates from pink to red to violet in a staggering collection of stepped fortress shapes.

'La Fabrica', a 31,000 m2 cement factory is Bofill's personal home and the location of his company offices. It was purchased in 1973, partially in ruins and remodelled with overgrowing plants, soft furnishings, earthy or pure colours and the characterful and bizarre yet beautiful remains of the factory itself injected into the interior spaces.

Says Bofill "I like the idea of a ruin philosophically. Life is a ruin,” he says. “The work of art doesn’t exist; it’s like a greyhound race in which you race towards something but never manage to reach it. All work has something wrong with it".

Forty five years after it was purchased, the home blends a functional past with its welcoming, restored brutalist / gothic / industrial qualities. It is endlessly fascinating both in its story of redemption and as a renewed object with a sense of past.

Image Credit / arch20.com
Image Credit / Taller De Arquitectura
Image Credit / Taller De Arquitectura





- - - - - - - - - -

2018 MK27 'Planar House', Porto Feliz, São Paulo, Brazil

While we selected 'Planar House', it would have been just as easy to choose any of the low-line, sleek houses from the MK27 back catalogue. Marcio Kogan (b. 1952) hails from São Paulo, Brazil. Until 1988 he was a film director, then went bust and turned to architecture. MK27 takes design cues from prominent modernist architects like Mies van der Rohe – simple forms and regular incorporation of timber elements to soften the linear spaces coupled with considered details and textural elements.

Planar House ties together simple, natural materials with open space in an exaggerated, low form. The winding, staggered brick wall creates a delightful counterpart to the otherwise stricly rectilinear forms. Of course we love the finishing interior touches too – as with other houses by the studio, photographs of Planar house feature mid-century South American furniture designs.

Image Credit / Dezeen, Photography by Fernando Guerra
Image Credit / Dezeen, Photography by Fernando Guerra
Image Credit / Dezeen, Photography by Fernando Guerra

More inspiration you might like

Urbis Magazine: Our Tribute to the Design Publication

Our short tribute to one of the best design magazines in New Zealand.

READ MORE

Modular Vintage Storage: A Buyer’s Guide

Being housebound since lockdown began, we’ve spent a lot of time musing over our walls, or more importantly what we could imagine adorning them with. Shelving, bookcases or wall units – the list could be endless but we thought, in the exercise of keeping cabin fever at bay we would profile the beautiful pieces we wouldn’t mind having.

READ MORE

Return to Earth: A Brief History of New Zealand Ceramics

Since the lockdown came into effect in the last fortnight we’ve returned to earthy, humble basics. Daily rituals of meals, conversations and enjoying time with each other in ways the fast pace of life had previously not allowed for. With our tables covered in picked over plates of food, we are reminded of the importance of ceramics. They offer an enduring connection to what is natural, a material to demonstrate creativity and a vessel to share.

READ MORE

Mr. Bigglesworthy: The Story of Restoration

Every design has a story – our restoration team looks to an object's past to preserve its future.

READ MORE
SITE BY EMMA EAGLE