Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Roundhouses in the 1930s

I have always had a soft spot for photographs of the great Art Deco American skyscrapers. So my eye was caught by this great photo of the Fisher Building in Detroit taken through the arches of the ground floor of the Cadillac Building opposite when I was flicking through an old children's encyclopedia the other day. But when I turned the page I was confronted with two examples of circular building that seemed quite science fiction... especially the first one which is described as a street of perfectly circular houses having been built in Dresden. Google didn't help me very much and I'd love to know whether they still exist but I suppose it is unlikely they survived WW2. In particular, it would be nice to find a better photo of these space-age looking buildings. The bottom photo is of a development which is, I suppose, much more likely to have survived in some form, described as "an experiment in building healthful homes on the flat principle for the artisan classes" and says it is known locally as "The Round House".
UPDATE: 8th January 2014. Thank you so much to good friend of this blog Noctambulate who, in the comments below, pointed the way to an article on Retronaut which was accompanied by photos of a house at a exhibition that was definitely the same design as those seen in the photo of the street below. This in turn mean that I knew the German name for the design, thought to be the worlds first spherical house, was Kugelhaus and searching under that name we discover a little more information and indeed that the Kugelhaus has its own German Wiki page. All this is great and it's wonderful to see some photos of what these things look like from the inside. However, none of this progress has yet led us to a place where a whole row of these "Ball Houses" might have been. I did wonder if it was possible that this was a photograph of an architects model and never a fully realised development, but I think our sense of what is real and what is 'made up' in old photographs is fairly developed these days and, to me, it looks real: as do the people in the bottom right hand corner of the picture... So still more to know but thank you Nocambulate for taking the time to get involved...


DA said...
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DA said...

I wonder if this is the same? In Dresden, but just one sphere, not a streetful. Destroyed as "degenerate" by the Nazis.

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