Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

The Plywood House

The Plywood House was built by a Architect Gamal El-Zoghby, an Egyptian man learned in astronomy, mathematics, philosophy and art, all of which were incorporated into his dream-house design. The house was sheathed in unpainted plywood and covered with several coats of special preservative or varnish to protect it from the sea spray and cold winters. Built in the late 90’s the design gives one the impression that it is unfinished, which was as intentional as the other design elements. The house is aligned precisely on eographic east-west and astronomical alignments. As in an ancient monument, two windows are positioned to capture the sunrise and sunset at the spring and autumn equinoxes. Unfortunately Mr El-Zoghby did not always appreciate the attention he receives and hated the nickname “the Plywood house”. The houses true name was the “The Parousium” from the Greek word “parousia,” meaning “presence or appearance.” I had visited the house many years ago and the owner was uninterested in discussing his home. Apparently he was tired of explaining the design to gawkers, passerbys and photographers….

The house and it’s owner were in the news today when a fire broke out. Firemen broke thru the walls with axes to get at various empty pockets of wall space. While doing this, child porn fell from between the walls and El-Zoghby was arrested as a result.

The Futuro House of Tomorrow

Built in 1968 by architect Matti Suuronen, this concept house was designed to be used as either a vacation home or a mobile home. It is constructed of lightweight plastic so it can easily be transported. It supposedly can sleep 8, and has a kitchen and bathroom. Cooking was to be done using a portable ‘firebox’ which could go on the table, or be put away. Steel legs supported the cabin. A door dropped down, spaceship style, to let people in or out.

Built by a New Zealand company, Futuro Industries, they were built just as the oil crisis began. This raised the price of building materials and that was the end of the Futuro House. Somewhere between 20 & 60 of these concept homes were built, and most are still in existence. This one is now being used as a PAL HQ in a park in Willingboro.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Sierra Exif JPEG

History of the Futuro House

The book is only available thru a handful of retaailers, none of them American. I got my copy thru Desura..

The Devil Faced Building of Fair View

This building on the Fairview Cliffside Park border bears several unusual devil or gargoyle faces on it, along with the numbers 1908 and the letters LC. LC stood for Louis Caporale, who built this building in 1908. The devil faces were likely used as decorations, meant to be gatekeepers as good luck. Corporale came from South America where this type of design was common at the time. There is probably no evil or bad intent, just the opposite in fact.



The James Rose Center

James Rose is a famous landscape architect. This house functions as an example of his best work. It suffered a fire and was nearly destroyed 15 years ago, but Rose rebuilt it, and created a foundation to further his work. The house now has tours ever summer, the first & third Saturdays of the month. The house was built as an example of how to interweave both inner and outer spaces, thus the catwalks from one room to another. When I visited I literally wasn’t sure where the front door was because there were seemingly several buildings. That’s the point. The courtyard: is it exterior? Is it part of the boundary of the house? It’s all interwoven and I hope to take a tour sometime to get more information about it. Take the link above for tour times and more information about the designer.




The IF House


The house looks like the letters I and F. No one knows if it was intentional and if so, what the reason was. Most people assume it’s some sort of inside joke.

Lucy the Elephant

Lucy is an example of zoomorphic architecture, that is, a building shaped like an animal. The concept for an animal shaped building was deemed innovative & unique, and now no one else could build one unless they paid him royalties. Read more about Lucy at the official Lucy the Elephant page or at a Lucy fan page (which tells much more about Lucy then the official page…)

James Lafferty owned a desolate stretch of sand dunes and scrub pine at the Jersey shore. In 1881 constructed Lucy the Elephant as a way to generate interest in the area, and sell real estate. It worked & people came from all around to marvel at the gigantic beast. It was deemed a success, so Lafferty built two more. A twelve-story structure twice as large as Lucy, the “Elephantine Colossus” was located in the center of Coney Island. The third elephant was slightly smaller than Lucy, was called “the Light of Asia,” and helped draw crowds to Cape May The Colossus burned down and the Light of Asia was torn down, leaving Lucy the only survivor.

Lucy is 6 stories tall, weights 90 tons and is made from tin & wood. It can be seen from as far out as 8 miles at sea. It originally housed a bar, which closed during Prohibition, then reopened when the laws were changed. As people began to travel further from home via air, destinations such as the shore faded, and Lucy no longer drew the crowds as she once had. Lucy fell into disrepair, and by the 1960s, was a slated to be torn down. In 1969, the “Save Lucy Committee” was formed by the Margate Civic Association. Lucy was moved to beachfront land owned by the city and was designated as a historic site. Fundraisers have since been conducted, which have allowed Lucy to be fully restored. Tours are conducted routinely for a nominal fee.



The Ottillio Office complex

You could drive past the Otillio office complex and not give it a second glance as it is off set and below the roadway itself. But on second look you begin to notice certain architectural and design elements. The massive columns creating the central opening and doorway certainly stand out. Like the giant chain links that create a pseudo wall. Or the giant bell by the parking area, with the large gate and ornate scrollwork on it.

Inside the complex it becomes even more unique. From the detailed carvings on the push bars on the doors, to the elaborate railings on the elegant stairway to the little garden next to the stairs to the wooden chest, you realize there is something a bit more extravagant then normal about this place.

The Ottillio Complex was fashioned from elements salvaged from landmarks being torn down, including the Japanese Pavilion at the World’s Fair, columns from Barnert Hospital, the Transportation Building at the World’s Fair and the from the 7-Up Pavilion, not to mention the Paramount theatre. The railing came from an abandoned subway station, and the chain links from a pier being brought down on the Hudson.

The project took over 15 years to complete, during which time Carmen Ottillio searched thru rubble and thru buildings about to become rubble to see what was striking or unusual. He then brought the pieces here and created something entirely new from these old & useless (to some) pieces.