Beyond Fallingwater: 10 Famous Homes Around the World
Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece isn’t the only residence you should know about. Check out 10 other noteworthy houses.
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Rietveld Schröder House (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Dutch socialite Truus Schröder-Schräder had an unusual request when she enlisted the architect Gerrit Rietveld to design her family a home: Build it without any walls. The resulting Rietveld Schröder House, completed in 1924, has a revolutionary design with an open, airy feel and seamless transitions between spaces both inside and out. These days, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and open for tours.
Sculptured House (Genesee Mountain, Colo.)
Peeking out from the dense tree cover just off Highway 70, west of Denver, the white dome of the Sculptured House looks like something from another world. This strange structure, built in 1963, is also known as “the Flying Saucer House” and “the Sleeper House,” the latter because it appeared in Woody Allen’s 1973 sci-fi comedy Sleeper. Architect Charles Deaton ran out of money before the house was finished, so it sat vacant for three decades before it was finally furnished. These days, it’s for rent for private events.
The Glass House (New Canaan, Conn.)
If you’ve ever wanted to know what living in a fishbowl feels like, take a stroll through The Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., a midcentury glass box designed by architect Philip Johnson as his own residence in 1949. At 55 feet long and 33 feet wide, this 1,815-square-foot property has four exterior walls of solid glass, which doesn't allow for much privacy. Maybe that's why no one lives here anymore: The Glass House is open for tours and also hosts events throughout the year.
Monticello (Charlottesville, Va.)
In addition to being President of the United States (as well as a farmer, historian and inventor), Thomas Jefferson also dabbled in architecture. Enter Monticello, one of Jefferson’s most iconic designs and his home for decades. The main house was first completed in 1772 in the neoclassical style, although Jefferson spent years afterward tinkering with the design to reflect influences from Europe and his own whims. Today, visitors can stroll through its rooms and admire his handiwork.
Casa Batlló (Barcelona, Spain)
Casa Batlló, one of the most recognizable structures in all of Barcelona, owes its quirky looks to Antoni Gaudí, the godfather of Catalan Modernism. The building, originally a private residence, is colloquially known as the House of Bones for good reason; its striking columns have a decidedly skeletal look. A tour of its ornate interiors — which include stained glass, unusual staircases and curved-ceiling hallways — is a must-do for visitors to Barcelona.
The Farnsworth House (Plano, Ill.)
Built in 1951 by modernist pioneer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Farnsworth House is an enduring example of the International Style of architecture, with sleek lines and a blurring of inside and out. A private residence for more than 50 years, today it’s operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and open for tours.
Chemosphere House (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Perched atop a five-foot-wide concrete pole, Chemosphere House is built on a slope of 45 degrees, a feat thought impossible before the completion of this striking octagonal design by architect John Lautner. How does one get inside, you ask? Via the private funicular, a type of cable railway.
Villa Tugendhat (Brno, Czech Republic)
Before Fallingwater, the Farnsworth House or the Glass House, there was Villa Tugendhat. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and built with reinforced concrete between 1928 and 1930, it proved to be a pioneering example of modernist architecture, with an emphasis on functional amenities and clean lines. It’s open daily for public tours.
Alden Dow House and Studio (Midland, Mich.)
One of the most striking elements of this home, the private residence of the great 20th-century architect Alden Dow, are its “Unit Blocks,” a series of rhomboid cinder blocks used to form walls, terraces, and decoration. Dow, the son of Dow Chemical founder Herbert H. Dow, got the idea when he noticed cinder piling up outside the Dow Chemical Company furnaces. Today, the public is invited in for tours.
Taliesin West (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
When he wasn’t designing groundbreaking modernist homes for other people, Frank Lloyd Wright — one of the most celebrated architects of the 20th century — escaped to his winter home, Taliesin West in arid Scottsdale, Ariz. A low-slung, desert-inspired structure of his own design, Taliesin West was completed in 1937 and well used by the architect until his death in 1959. Today, it's home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and School of Architecture and open to the public for tours.