INTERIOR OF FLYING HOUSE LOOKING AT INFINITY AND A NEIGHBORS HAPPENING IN THEIR FLYING HOUSE. 1976
THE HOUSE IS THOUGHT OF AS A PERSONAL KINGDOM. THIS IS WHERE ANYBODY WITH THE LEAST BIT OF MONEY FANCIES THEMSELVES ARCHITECTS. IT VARIES WHO CONTROLS, THE MAN OR THE WOMAN. THE MAN HAVING THE SAY ON COST, PRACTICAL BUILDING WAYS, MAINTENANCE ETC. THE WOMAN MAKING THE AESTHETIC CHOICES AND INTO DETAILS IN THE KITCHEN, BATHROOMS AND MASTER BEDROOM. I WAS IN DANGEROUS TERRITORY WITH A TOTALLY REVOLUTIONARY HOUSE. IN FACT I DO NOT THINK ANYBODY HAS EVER HAD A SERIOUS DISCUSSION WITH ME CONCERNING THE FLYING HOUSE, OTHER THAN CHRISTIAN MY WIFE WANTING TO LIVE IN ONE. CLAIMING HER FAVORITE OF MY DESIGNS. ALVIN BOYARSKY WANTING ME TO BUILD ONE, AND JOHN JOHANSEN AND ROY MASON USING IT AS A FAVORITE IMAGE. IT IS SO REMOVED FROM MOST PEOPLES REFERENCE OF A HOUSE.
AS OF LATE THERE IS AN INTEREST IN SMALLER MULTI FUNCTIONAL SPACES WITH TRANSFORMER LIKE ARRANGEMENTS. IT IS ALL SLOWLY HAPPENING.
I DID NOT BEGIN EXAMINING THE HISTORY OF THE HOUSE, ALTHOUGH I HAD DESIGNED A LOT OF THEM. NO I BEGAN BY LOOKING AT A FLOWER, A PLASTIC NET STRETCH BAG FOR FRUIT, SOFT SURFACES VS HARD SURFACES. THE CONSTRUCTION OF ARTIFICIAL ARMS AND LEGS WITH ELECTRONIC SENSORS, A PLUG ON ELEMENT THAT ROTATED WITH THE SUN, OPENED AND CLOSED TO PROVIDE PROTECTING IN IN-CLIMATE WEATHER AND OPENNESS WHEN DESIRED. THE IDEA THAT YOU COULD MOVE AROUND WITH FLIGHT OR TRANSPORTED WITH A MOVER UNIT OR TELESCOPIC CRANE. THE COMPUTER GIVING ENDLESS CHOICES OF CONFIGURATION. INFLATABLES WERE JUST BEGINNING TO BE EXPLORED AS FURNITURE. THE BEAN BAG CHAIR ETC.
1965 WAS THE DAWNING OF A NEW ERA, THE HIPPIE THING JUST STARTING. THOW OUT OLD IDEAS AND THINK ANEW. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
THE ENTRANCE TO MODULAR UNIT. THE ROUND SOFT MODULAR IN VIEW WITH KITTENS PLAYING IN FRONT. THE STAIR ON THE RIGHT TO THE MEZZANINE. A CLOSED BEDROOM ON THE LEFT.
A DISTANT VIEW OF THE LIVING ROOM AND HORIZON BEYOND THE MODULAR. PASTELS AND INK. 197O.
CROSS SECTION FLYING HOUSE 1972 OPENS AND CLOSES LIKE A FLOWER, ROTATES TO TRACK THE SUN AND VIEWS, SURFACES ADJUSTABLE TO BE FLAT OR WOME LIKE. SOFT TO BOUNCE OFF OF, LIKE A TRAMPOLINE, CAN CLIMB UP WALLS AND BOUNCE AROUND. SKINS OPTIONS FROM CLEAR TO OPAQUE, BLACK TO RAINBOW OF COLORS DEPENDING ON YOUR MODE. TRANSPORTATION ENTRANCE UNDERSIDE OF WALKWAY, FRONT DOOR OFF PEDESTRIAN PARK WALKWAY. MINI POOL MOULAR CLOSES DOWN TO AREO DYNAMIC BUD SHAPE THAT CAN FLY WITH WINGS THAT INFLATE FROM SIDES.
THE FLYING HOUSE CROSS SECTION IN BLACK AND WHITE
PLUGGING INTO THE BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE FOR STRUCTURE AND POWER. ENTRANCES FOR PEDESTRIANS ON WALKWAY AND VEHICLE BELOW WALKWAY THROUGH CAMERA LENS DOOR. KIDS CLIMBING ON TENSILE MEMBERS.
THE WOMB BEDROOM ABOVE, THE KITCHEN BELOW WITH PROCESSING NOZZLES, THE MEZZANINE FAMILY ROOM AND THE POOL LEVEL BELOW.
THE SPACES CAN BE PROGRAMED FLAT OR ADJUSTED TO INFINITE PATTERNS.
THE FLYING HOUSE. CLOSED AND ON THE MOVE. I WENT TO CAL TECH TO AN AERO SPACE ENGINEER TO GET ADVISE ON DESIGNING FOR FLYING OBJECTS. HE SAID HE COULD MAKE A BRICK FLY, SO MY CARTOON PROJECTION OF INFLATABLE WINGS AND A POWER PACKAGE FOR JET FLIGHT WAS A START. THE MOTOR HOME, OR TRAILER IN TOW APPEAL BEING THE CONCEPT OF TAKING YOUR HOME WITH YOU. THE DESTINATION BRINGING INFINITE GOODIES TO INTERACT WITH.
TO ME FLIGHT WAS A NATURAL EVOLUTION, BUT MAKING VEHICLE DRIVERS PILOTS HAS IT’S LIMITATIONS. ONE CRIT BEING OUR SKIES ARE DANGEROUS NOW WITH ALL THE SMALL PLANS. I LEAVE THIS UP TO THOSE THAT SOLVE SUCH THINGS. BUCKMINISTER FULLER WAS INTO A UNIT THAT COULD FLY, FLOAT AND DRIVE, BUT ONLY DEVELOPED THE CAR, A HUGE TASK. MY POINT BEING WITH THE RIGHT MONEY, MINDS, AND TECHNOLOGY THIS COULD ALL HAPPEN.
BUT TO THE HERE AND NOW PEOPLE, THE IDEA OF A FLYING HOUSE WAS OFF THE CHARTS AND DELEGATED TO SCIENCE FICTION. A BIG TURN OFF TO BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY. THE BB BEING ABLE TO BE BUILT WITHOUT A FLYING HOUSE OR SUPER CAR.
AS A KID IN 1947 I REMEMBER A DICK TRACY WATCH IN THE COMICS. IT COULD DO ALL THE CELL PHONE STUFF. WHEN I AM IN A SUPER MARKET AND THE COMPUTERS CRASH, THE PLACE COME TO A STANDSTILL. AS A KID ALL THE MARKETS, BANKS, PHONES ETC FUNCTIONED OFF OF CASH WITH SIMPLE ADDING AND SUBTRACTING.
THE MOTOR HOME AND SMALL COMPACT CAR HAS PROVIDED A HERE AND NOW ANSWER USING EVOLVING GREEN POWER SYSTEMS AND INEVITABLE GUIDANCE SYSTEMS.
THE IMAGE OF THE FUTURE IN ARCHITECTURE HAS ALWAYS BEEN SHATTERED BY DATED PROJECTIONS OF VEHICLES. ONLY FULLER BEING THE EXCEPTION.
INSIDE THE FLYING HOUSE LOOKING AT THE OCEAN. WATERCOLORS 1971
THE SURFACES SOFT AND ADJUSTABLE. A BIG TRAMPOLINE IF DESIRED. EXERCISE BEING A FUN THING. INFINITY BEING A BONUS. ISN’T THAT WHERE THE RICH PEOPLE LIVE, ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN OR HIGH-RISE.
THE SURFACES BEING ABLE TO HAVE AN INFINITE ADJUSTABLE RANGE OF COLORS AND TRANSPARENCY. LIKE LIVING IN A FLOWER.
INSIDE THE FLYING HOUSE LOOKING AT THE OCEAN, DRAWING 2, WHICH ENDED UP ON THE COVER OF FUTURIST MAGAZINE. MY ADVISE IS TO GET THE DRAWING RIGHT WHEN GOING TO BE PUBLISHED. IN HIND SIGHT I SHOULD HAVE DONE A WASH, LIKE DRAWING 1, AND DONE A BETTER JOB WITH THE PEOPLE AND SKY. A HUGE MISTAKE IN MY LIFE OF NOT DELIVERING THE BEST I COULD. MY COMPETITION BEING SYN MEAD. I SPOKE TO AN ART CENTER FRIEND THAT SAID HE COUL DO IT FIRST CLASS, BUT HE WANTED TOO MUCH MONEY AND I WAS NOT ACCUSTOMED TO LETTING OTHER PEOPLE RENDER MY ARCHITECTURE.
INSIDE THE FLYING HOUSE LOOKING AT THE OCEAN DRAWING 3, I WAS CHANGING TO PASTE ON COLLAGES, BRINGING REALISM TO THE DRAWINGS. HIND SIGHT, MY WATER COLOR TECHNIQUE IS WHERE I SHOULD HAVE CONCENTRATED ON DEVELOPING.
THE FLYING HOUSE ON THE NATURAL LANDSCAPE OF RESTORED LAND OVERLOOKING THE PACIFIC OCEAN. SITTING ON THE CLIFFS OF PALOS VERDES LOOKING NORTH TO THE DISTANT BIOMORPHIC BIOSPHERE DURING AUTUMN. SELF SUFFICIENT WITH LEGS GRABBING THE LAND. LOOKS LIVABLE TO ME. THE FAMILY DOG TAKING IT ALL IN.
THE SCALE MODEL OF THE FLYING HOUSE, MADE OUT OF MAGIC FILM, A LIQUID PLASTIC THAT HARDENED WHEN EXPOSED TO AIR. I BUILD THE STRUCTURE OUT OF WIRE AND SOLDERED IT TOGETHER AND THEN DIPPED OR SPOONED THE MAGIC FILM ON. THE FILM TAKING THE MOST EFFICIENT FORM BETWEEN THE WIRE. THE COLOR AND TRANSPARENCY WAS A TURN ON TO ME.
THE FLYING HOUSE AT SUNSET ON THE VENICE BEACH. TALK ABOUT BEING IN TUNE WITH NATURE. HARD TO TELL WHERE NATURE STOPS AND THE FLYING HOUSE BEGINS.
THIS DESIGN WAS THE RESULT OF ASKING MYSELF, WHAT WOULD I LIKE OUT OF A HOUSE? I HAVE USED THIS APPROACH WITH STUDENTS AS WELL, GETTING THEM TO GO TO A DIMENSION THAT IS UNIQUE, BECAUSE THE THINKING PROCESS STARTS WITH THE BASIC AND DEVELOPS EVERYTHING THAT COULD CREATE THE IDEAL.
Good to see this Glen.
Flying houses, any flying habitats not grounded are unusual at best. With the exception of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki Castle in the Sky from the 80s these are rare.
But there are exceptions. Didn’t Bucky Fuller have some sort of gigantic levitating geodesic sphere? Project Cloud Nine.
The precedent i am more interested in is a German expressionist artist/ architect Wenzel Hablik. His 1925′ flying estates’ look like giant spinning tops, with cables running from both pointed top and bottom to the wider diameter. Hablick was part of the crystal cities group who proposed geometric structures based on natures rocks.
The best place to find flying houses is in Science Fiction. My favorite is SKYPORT by Curt Siodmak. The plot has a visionary developer who builds an orviting ‘ way station’ between the earth and moon. of course his best friend is an architect who gets this dream job and the entrepreneurs daughter in the end — with a perpetual moon for their honeymoon.
Then there is the University of Cambridge Nobel laureate, David Benjamin, cofounder of the design and research studio The Living, is collaborating with plant biologists in England to 3D print materials that mimic the forms and structures of bacteria. He also studies architecture and believes that soon we will produce bioplastics from renewable sugar rather than petroleum and will obviously be incredibly sustainable. That kind of thing is not far away – like using synthetic biology to design a seed that grows into a building. Now there you have the BB in real time. Glen your design always seemed to me to be a radiolaria-esque bioplastic just didn’t realize it would be doable in our lifetime!
thanks for your comments.
reflecting on my professional carreer.
the areas like the biomorphic biosphere which seemed off the wall will probably be the areas that will be remembered and studied.
so what does that say? ahead of your time or aware of your time?
Sugar based plastic.?…chitin like in insect exo-skeleton.
Jules Verne MASTER OF THE WORLD has a ‘flying city’ made of super-lightweight plasticized paper. Dozens of extended helicopter rotors lifted the machine into the sky. In concept it was similar to Verne’s undersea Nautilus and this flying city was used to fight evil. It was made as a movie early sixties with Vincent Price and Chls Bronson.
You need to go to outer space to find more flying houses.
the flying house was a living unit on the biomorphic biosphere. it was the evolution of the motor home which orginally was a way for the middle class to escape and live well, that has now turned into pop out walls and ceiling and all the gagets the rich need to live. the insurance, permits, gas, etc make it only for the rich.
i could have left it out for pratical reasons, but as jack points out things are changing faster than we ever imagined to make the biomorphic biosphere stuff work. the brains and inventions are ahead of the market, they need a director. i did this with the biomorphic biosphere and more recently with the downtown tropisphere. still nobody wanting my services.
the flying city, outer space communities, and mile diameter spheres floating in space have never been of any interest for me. flash godon, buck rogers, jules vernes all held no curisoty for me. i have enough resistance just trying to evolve existing cities.
rick mather architect of london fame, my college buddy at oregon died last month. i wll do a blog on him. he felt existing cities were here to stay. so far he is right, but times are changing and the obvious will eventually evolve.
Motor homes. Forgot about those. They recur in the Green Machine. But I wouldn’t dismiss science fiction, if only for practical persuasive reasoning that you point out. The overlap is the visionary approach. My little overview of flying houses is just that, to ‘over view’ the other means to that end.
You know, in a denser environment, like water, everything flies.
science fiction has a lot to say. i am just putting it into my context of doing the biomorphic biosphere. i am a hard core realist, but others see me as a dreamer. i see you as all channels open to receive and propose. i am selective and a practical architect with the biomorphic look. all have a place space. as people keep dropping like flies around me, the end is soon and the work is all that matters. the blog the game changer.
Of course there is a difference between speculative fiction aka science fiction/fantasy and architecture. You can get away with almost any idea, concept, object in literature. You dont even have to imagine how to build it, a description is all that is required, and a keyboard to write – paperless!
Once drawings are introduced the written form has to comply with some reality, however imaginative. Writing clarifies speech and drawing doers the same for writing. This is where the ideas are worked out.
I like the cover art and illustrations in science fiction. The artists are the ones that have to make visual sense of the concepts and that takes work. Try looking at successive covers for the same title, the illustrations of things are always rendered a bit different.
ramble on, where does this all lead? those popular science and poular mechanics sare filled with rendered visions for the future.
the vested interests are powerful, and things will change, but not in any bold dramatice positive way that you and i can relate to.
Glen, Vested interests? Are you talking about the ‘system’ or about four guys living in a luxury cave in Majorca controlling the worlds economy?
Its not that hard to visualize a future if you have the time to ponder. I have studied various ‘visions of the future’ and most are still stuck in a box. I look at the many Science fiction / Mechanics illustrated schemes to see what kind of the box they are in
Can you believe sometimes the predicted future visions included classical stone clad skyscrapers in outer space, or others worlds based on our ancient Greek Age or Pericles or Rome! Most fantasy writing seems to derive from some middle ages epic. Not futuristic.
So you have to go thru a lot of crap to find some core ideas that are real futuristic not pseudo-future what-ifs. The cover art reveals a lot to me. I will probably write something on this if I ever start a blog.
As to the flying house, as a concept it is late Victorian in origin , think Jules Verne again, a re-purposed flying motor home that rendered and styled biomorphic. There is nothing I see at present, except as a ‘seed metaphore’ that connects a flying house to your biosphere.
In this case this is your Science Fiction.
no eric your science fiction, my architectural design proposal.
if tomorrow a client came to you and said they wanted a flying house, based upon the design of glen small’s biomorphic biosphere and are prepared to pay to have it built. does that make it architecture or science fiction?
Glen. I know what science fiction is. Forgive me but you dont;, and admit that you are not interested in the subject or read science fiction literature.I do and I come from a science fiction background. Many of my friends wrote science fiction. Ray Bradbury was a client. Harlen Ellison wrote good things about my theater. Forrest Ackerman ‘Forrey” coined the word SCI_FI.
If you dont know who these science fiction writers are look them up. I know the differences between science, science fiction and fantasy.
Your jet propelled flying house is based on a future, not built yet built, technology. A proposal based on conjecture. fiction.
BTW just because a CAL-Tech engineer says he can make a brick fly , well lets see the design. My Cal Tech engineers talk about teleportation and time-travel, all possible. But the science is not there yet it’s future is conjecture. And yes, I wrote about both, as a future science.
Science fiction is NOT a bad word. It is Science based fiction where the science hasn’t caught up with the fiction.
there is a game shift and I resolutely believe bioplastics, as they evolve out of synthetic biology’s chemists playing around with polymers to develop composite material consisting of layers of chitin as polysaccharide polymer, and protein organized in a laminar, plywood-like structure. One material is called Shrilk – composed of fibroin protein from silk and from chitin, which is commonly extracted from discarded shrimp shells and is similar in strength and toughness to an aluminum alloy, but half the weight. It is biodegradable and can be produced at a very lost cost, since chitin is readily available as a shrimp waste product. It is also easily molded into complex shapes, such as tubes. By controlling the water content in the fabrication process, wide variations in stiffness, from elasticity to rigidity were reproduced. these experiments will provide exterior materials as hard and lightweight as crustacean shells, and interior materials as soft & bio-smart as gel forming to bodies, radiating body heat back, and providing the anthromorphics to live with in homes and public spaces. it is clear that the type of living represented by BB is definitely achievable – most probably it will not follow a sophisticated chitin exo-skeleton ‘growth/seed’ model, as eric hints, but may well fall under corporate patent controls and become a rich man’s hobby, but I believe it will be in the near future (btw, eric, it is great how ideas in art-architecture-sci-fi just rolls from you mind!)
after all your travels you end up in venice california. must be heaven. or did you just give up. i have not come to that conclusion and still am seeking paradise.
sounds like you are over the top with knowledge. must be hard to talk to people. thanks for sharing on this blog.
Great info Jack. Chitin, Cellulose, other organic polymerization are likely the next big thing as you point out, and doable. The plastics revolution replaced resins and this will likewise.
Thanks for the complement. It was you JACK that turned me on to my latest intrest, analytical philosophy, specifically Ryle CONCEPT OF MIND and the rest of the British analytical philosophers. I study alot on image description and naming, location of consciousness (probably the RAS, its and on-off switch in the brain) and aesthetic theories. Lately is has been 17th and 18thC writings, mostly because I like how things get broken down as systems. Still havent read Spencer.
eric, very intriguing on RAS – it may lead to qualia and the morass of controversies & overlapping theory bashing on consciousness.
Glen, my first hard-to-talk-to-people event was at SCI-Arc when I informed a noted bossman that he had misquoted Nietzsche and was ostracized (though other noted sci-arcians stepped up).
I have not given up although I would have gladly moved to another country were I better prepared for it. no gold watch or commendations so I am basically starting over (again). but lets get back to cities and looking forward to the blog on r.mathers.
Jack, same here. I corrected Herr Moss on some fact re constructivism. He used his sarcastic sneer voice back then “So Einstein, what makes YOU so smart?”
Now of course my response is “Hey Nietzche, what makes you think YOUR work has any value ?”
He only reads the titles and brings up quotes by weight. Read my review of Moss’s tactics in Orhans Coy Howard interview on Archinect
will look for Archinect –
on value, some friends took the train from Culver C. to downtown – as they passed bossman’s work they all said horrified, “what is that? it looks derelict-sci-fi.”
In this world all things occupy a place.
eric and jack,
nobody likes to be questioned or corrected, but now it seems refreshing compared to silence. sci-arc controlled by moss is out of bounds for discussion from a normal feisty bunch of thinkers that do not want to be blackballed.
it has been suggested to me to concentrate on my design work. that is my strength and positive outlet. that reminds me of my dad telling me to be honest, work hard, and do your best. that from a dad that voted for henry wallace and patted me on the head for sport achievements and architecture, but never clued me into the reality of life. i can imagine what kennedy’s dad told his sons to do. work the crowd, know when to buy and sell and enjoy women. open your eyes, improve the world, but compromise and bail when necessary, power the supreme commander.
moss, mayne, gehry etc long ago realized what it takes to gain power and commissions. not all that pretty of a life. the crowd forgives you if you are successful and published.
silence much harder to control in the internet world. how to use this in a positive way ? just the thunder of endless voices weakens getting through.
We could discuss the major sea change in city design that awaits us. Given LAâ€™s perpetual state of renewal/replacement, it is also never ending to imagine the next voice of architecture. What will be revealed as significantly more relevant than the recent past?
The city as an experiment is only limited by viable options given to the denizens. Enable LA to lift the politics restricting building community complexes (not just parks) over and along portions of the concrete river or freeways. Enormous costs need to be balanced with the re-imagined spirit of Ponte Vecchio. Presented as an urban scale with finesse and a renewed sense of sanctuary it would need to presale itself in the marketplace. As it is always market values that drive people to re-evaluate how they are willing to live.
The late Susan Nelson had a tactic, really a strategy: Counter-proposals. The contrast would be ‘instructive’.
It worked in preservation. I think that it would work with Glen. All that is missing is the think-tank environment, community design studio. A team to crank these out.
this has been my strategy for a long time. see something that needs corrected and do a project proposing the solution. detroit stadium, biomorphic biosphere, green machine, turf town,
hong kong peak, jungle theater, downtown tropisphere, and now the eco resort in nicaragua. it perks people up, but if the developer does not ask for the project nor the direction i choose to solve the solution, which has never been, then the chances of it becomming reality is hitting a perfect score of zero for me.
the ideal is not on shopping list. you would think somebody would have discovered me by now and sought buildable solutions. i feel like i have wasted my life trying and being slammed for it.
Posted a link to your Tropisphere project. on Archinect. Amazon is proposing a sort of Fuller-esque Climatron. I linked to Tropo as an alternative. Also me ntioned Bernard Judge later on.
Did you know Bernard has a book out on his work with Brando?
Don’t worry about being down, its cyclical, ride it out your doing fine
THANKS FOR LINKING ME UP. I WENT BACK AND READ DOWNTOWN TROPISPHERE. IT IS BRILLIANT. WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED. I JUST DO NOT GET IT WHY OTHERS HAVE NOT EMBRACED THE SCHEME. AS YOU SAY THE DRAWINGS NEED TO BE MORE SEDUCTIVE, BUT THE IDEA IS THERE, IN SKETCH FORM AS YOU COMMENT, BUT DAMN CONVINCING.
BERNARD JUDGE IS A SURVIVOR. I HOPE HE MAKES A FEW BUCKS OFF THE BOOK ON MARLON BRANDO’S PARADISE ISLAND. DOES HE MENTION MILICA? SHE EVEN WENT DOWN THERE IN THE DESIGN PROCESS. THE TWO WORLD CLASHING. TELLS YOU SOMETHING ABOUT DESTROYING THE EARTH.
Glen, Tropo is brilliant. In the past four five months I have seen dozens of competitions for remaking / re-imagining urban centers. Tropo can work both as shade and greenhouse, adaptable to several urban environments. I like the northern cities aka Detroit, for Tropo remake. BTW There was a recent competition to redo parts of Detroit.
i sent about six months ago the downtown tropisphere and the old covers of the detroit magazine projects to a couple of the more progressive papers and magazines that my architect friend harvey ferrero who lives in detroit recommended. not a word back. if you look at what they think detroit should be building to come back, it is so so conservative and boring. he says some areas you just do not venture into. those are the areas where you can buy houses for almost nothing, but your life in danger.
a city that once was the booming example of industry reduced to begging to recover. sad indeed.