Icons of the Czech Avantgarde
Sleep in a Modernist Gem – Huis Billiet in Bruges
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Eesteren House Museum
Welcome Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Zentrum in Vienna!
Register Now: 7th International Iconic Houses Conference
Welcome Vila Volman! Jewel of Czech Functionalism
Movie Night: Adolf Loos- Revolutionary Among Architects
Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House - 25 June 2023 in Centraal Museum Utrecht
'Inside Iconic Houses' Case Study House #26 Webcast in Webshop
Inside Iconic Houses at Taut’s Home in Berlin
Rediscovering Forgotten Loos Interiors in Pilsen
'Inside Iconic Houses' - Online Tour Program
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - The Diagoon House
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House
Rietveld Houses Owners Association
Corberó Space: New Life for Hidden Jewel
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Pierre Cuypers' House and Workshops
Reeuwijk Celebrates Completion of Restoration Rietveld Homes!
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Doesburg Rinsema House
Welcome Rietveld's Van Daalen House!
Architect Harry Gessner Passed Away at 97
Watch Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House Now On Demand
Icon Saved: Dorchester Drive House
Welcome Umbrella House!
Iconic Houses in the Netherlands – Berlage’s Masterpiece
Welcome Atelier Volten!
SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams - Sleep in an Iconic House!
SPECIAL - Vacances en France!
SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!
SPECIAL – German Greats!
SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!
SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!
Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip
Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave
Inside Iconic Houses Tours Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami
Casa Masó Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary
Inside Iconic Houses tours Roland Reisley's Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright House
Rietveld’s Experimental Housing in Reeuwijk Saved
Serralves Villa after restoration
Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione
Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe
Inside Iconic Houses - Isokon Building
Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle
BCN-BXL Coderch-De Koninck - Beyond Time
New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform
Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina
A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo
Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman
Winy Maas on the Green Dip
Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s
Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois
The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer
Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism
Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage
Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces
July is Iconic Houses Month
Hans van Heeswijk on The Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House
Wessel de Jonge on Dutch Icons at Risk
Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!
How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event
Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House
13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage
Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!
Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970
Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments
Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design
ICONS AT RISK
Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck
Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'
A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism
New Centre for Historic Houses of India
An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House
Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands
A Mendini temple in Amsterdam
IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House
Sponsors and Friends
An Afternoon with the Glucks
Chandler McCoy on Making Modern Houses Sustainable
Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK
Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon
Fiona Fisher on Iconic Interiors
Jocelyn Bouraly on Villa Cavrois
Mireia Massagué on finding success through a new kind of partnership
Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar
Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering
Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra
Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project
We welcome 13 new members!
BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!
LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright
SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies
Our Badge of Honour
SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses
SPECIAL – Iconic Housing
Iconic Houses End Year Message
City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?
Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress
Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk
Renovation Gili House in Crisis
An Iconic Saga
Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies
Modernism on the East Coast
Iconic Houses in Latin America
House Tours May 2018
Natascha Drabbe - Iconic Houses: The Next Chapter
Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson
New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne
Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House
John Arbuckle on Great House Tours
William D. Earls on the Harvard Five in New Canaan
Stover Jenkins on Working for Philip Johnson
Frederick Noyes on his Father’s House
Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam on their Passion for Preservation
Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)
Fabio Grementieri on Modernism in Argentina
Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán
Renato Anelli on Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro
Tim McClimon on Corporate Preservation
Amanda Nelson on Building Donor Relationships
John Bacon on Planned Giving
Jean-Paul Warmoes on the Art of Fundraising in America
Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More
Katherine Malone-France on Moving with the Times
Anne Mette Rahbæk on Philanthropic Investments and Preservation
Peter McMahon on Saving Modern Houses on Cape Cod
Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses
Roland Reisley on Life in a Frank Lloyd Wright House
5th Iconic Houses Conference May 2018
Kristin Stone, Pasadena Tour Company
Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio
Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association
Crosby Doe, Architecture for Sale
Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico
De Stijl in Drachten
Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio
Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru
Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil
Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition
Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece
In Berlin’s Modernist Network
Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary
Meet Our New Foundation Board Members
Maintaining Aalto's Studio – Linoleum Conservation
Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D
Getty Grant for Villa E-1027
Plečnik House in Ljubljana
Iconic Houses: A Bohemian Road Trip
Work in Progress: Capricho de Gaudí
11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List
At home with Le Corbusier
Henry van de Velde’s Study in Haus Hohe Pappeln Restored
Lynda Waggoner reports
A Conference to Remember
4th International Iconic Houses Conference
Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner
Fallingwater: European Lecture Tour
Wright Plus 2016 Walk
Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute
John Mcllwee, Garcia House
Meet the Friends – Elisabeth Tostrup
Iconic Houses: The Story So Far
Willie van Burgsteden, designer Iconic Houses
Buff Kavelman, Philanthropic Advisor
Meet the Friends - Frederick Noyes
Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage
Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra
Sidney Williams, Frey House
Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists
Meet the Friends - James Haefner
Toshiko Mori, architect
Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust
Meet the Friends - Penny Sparke
Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House
Cory Buckner, Mutual Housing Site Office
Jeffrey Herr, Hollyhock House
Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library
Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences
Ted Bosley, Gamble House
Keeping It Modern - Getty Conservation Grants
Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer
Wim de Wit, Stanford University
Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy
Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage
Join us in Los Angeles! Update
Work in Progress: Casa Vicens
Work in Progress: Van Wassenhove House
Work in Progress: Villa Cavrois
Work in Progress: The Pearlroth House
Third Iconic Houses Conference a huge success
Conference House Tours Barcelona
Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera
Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation
Special speaker Oscar Tusquets
Jordi Tresserras, UNESCO Network ‘Culture, tourism and development’
Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation
Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner
Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda
Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)
Susana Landrove, Docomomo Spain
Rossend Casanova, Casa Bloc
Conference Program 25 November 2014
Jordi Falgàs, Casa Rafael Masó
Documentary La Ricarda
Marga Viza, Casa Míla/La Pedrera
Celeste Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
Conference 25 November 2014 at La Pedrera
Henry Urbach, The Glass House
Victoria & Albert Museum London November 12
Tommi Lindh, new director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum
Iveta Černá, Villa Tugendhat
Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater
Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center
Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld
Barragán House on Screen
Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move
Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013
Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open
September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris
June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments
Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook
Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture
Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse
New arrivals: Spain special
MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June
Taut's Home wins Europa Nostra Award
Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May
Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen
Message from the Editor
Neutra’s House on Screen
Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier
Symposium The Public and the Modern House
Melnikov House on Screen
Iconic Houses in the media
Message from the Editor
Round Table Review
Eileen Gray House on Screen
At Home in the 20th Century
New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches
Philippe Bélaval, Centre des monuments nationaux
Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner
Modernism’s Maverick: A Conversation with Harry Gesner
In addition to leading an almost impossibly romantic life - incorporating spells as a treasure-hunting archaeologist in South America and teaching water-skiing aboard Errol Flynn’s boat - our conference Guest of Honor Harry Gesner (1925) has built some of Modernism’s most unorthodox houses, capturing the soul of California in architecture. These include his Scantlin House at the Getty Center, which Getty architect Richard Meier insisted on preserving. On our tours, we visit the Sandcastle in Malibu, the remarkable circular home where Gesner has lived since 1970. The legendary architect takes the conference stage, too, for a special question and answer session about his work.
Watch here a video and interview that was made by our media partner Dwell.
Where did your interest in building houses originate?
It began when I was a kid, delivering papers in LA. In those days, a lot of new houses were being built on my round, including many interesting ones. I’d walk in and have a look them. I always wanted to be an architect; I just had an intuition that it would be a fun thing to do. This was even though my uncle - an architect, unlicensed although he was very good - told me I didn’t have enough talent. Of course, telling me that just made me want to do it even more. I was always drawing houses, even then. That’s really why I never wanted to study architecture; I’d always felt one jump ahead.
So how did you get into the profession?
After the war, I worked as a television cartoonist in New York, but I’d take the train to Yale to listen in on the lectures of Frank Lloyd Wright. Somehow or other, he ended up inviting me to join him at Taliesin West, but that wasn’t for me. If I’d done it, I’d just have ended up being a paler version of Frank Lloyd Wright. Instead, I decided to give myself ten years to teach myself to be an architect. I’d pick a construction site that looked interesting and I’d ask to work there as an apprentice. I was a carpenter, stonemason, or anything else I could get into. I only picked exceptional houses. That’s how I learned. As an architect, I believe you should always be able to construct the buildings you design. I always work on my own houses.
To say you’ve led an interesting life would be a huge understatement. What is the link between your many adventures and your work?
While I was fighting in World War II, I always said to myself, and to anyone who might be listening, ‘If I survive this, I’m going to do something important with my life’.
On my travels, I learned to appreciate fine architecture. When I was in Europe during World War II, whenever I could I’d explore a castle. Castles are hands-on architecture. The masons designed, and built them, from the intricate knowledge that they had in their heads. You don’t find plans for medieval castles. Seeing them made me think more about the fine points of designing a habitat, and what stuck in my head was that these were autonomous structures. I try to design autonomous houses that function.
Do you have a favorite house among the many you have built?
It’s the one I am working on. Even though I’ve designed over 100 houses over the years, my favorite is always the current one. I just started one this week - a series of domes and a keep for an engineer and a writer and their kids. It’s on a 10-acre site, between the mountains and the ocean.
How do you go about designing a house?
The way I design is to go to the site and sit there for hours at a time. I return to it again and again at different times. It’s a very individual approach, and each of my house solutions only applies to that particular site. I don’t have any formulas. I design to nature, taking account of the sun and wind. Nature is my teacher, rather than other architecture. I don’t study other people’s work.
Apart from the new house, what else are you currently working on?
There’s the Autonomous Tent, which doesn’t depend on formal foundations and can be put up in a few days. It doesn’t even require you to level the land, so it doesn’t destroy its natural contours. Although it’s informal architecture, it will easily last 100 years. Another autonomous housing project is the Mushroom House, a tripod house above the ground - I think we have to get back into the trees! Then Kelly Slater, the great surfer, has this project called The Perfect Wave - an engineered artificial wave that will be a quarter of a mile long, which he has been developing for 12 years. He has contacted me to masterplan the project.
You are known for your houses on ‘unbuildable’ sites, like the Cahuenga Pass Boathouses. Is there any site that can’t be used?
No. I can solve every problem. I love a challenge. Most of my houses are on difficult sites - I have no problems with problems!
Do you still surf?
I did until quite recently, but I’ve stopped now. I’m 90 and it’s ok to let go of certain things.
How about your legacy? What will happen to your archive, for example?
My archive is in the very safe hands of Lisa Stoddard, who is doing a great job looking after it and will continue to do so. It’s currently in my garage, and I would love it to go the Getty Center. As for my home, the Sandcastle, it will be 50 years old in four years from now and wlll therefore be eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What is the biggest challenge that architects face today?
I think it’s to get away from the grid and design self-sufficient homes - right down to the collection of water. We need to find ways to stop polluting. If we don’t get away from fossil fuels, we will cancel ourselves out with pollution. My biggest interest, all through my life, has been the environment. We are so fortunate to live on this beautiful planet. We must take action to stop ruining it and live in balance with nature. We need to reassess our place in this world - and architecture is a small part of doing that.
Watch the film ‘Harry Gesner: Architect, Environmentalist, Visionary’ by Eric Minh Swenson
Images photo gallery: from the book 'Houses of the Sundown Sea: The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner'
Publication date 4 February 2016