HOUSE FOR THE ATOMIC AGE (Aug, 1953)

This is a pretty cool house, if you go for the woodland-critter, industrial-flintstones look. As far as I can tell the only real feature it has that is in any way associated with “atomic protection” is the bomb shelter. However, the fact that the bomb shelter must be entered by swimming through a tunnel in the pool gets them major James Bond points.
Oh, and am I the only one who would be terrified to try parking on that crazy cantilevered track thing?

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HOUSE FOR THE ATOMIC AGE

A swimming pool that becomes an automatic decontamination bath during an A-bomb attack is one of the features of a home that Hal B. Hayes, Hollywood contractor, is completing for himself. In the hillside next to the swimming pool he’s building an underground sanctuary that you reach by diving into the pool. His house is designed to “bring the outdoors indoors” for ordinary peaceful living, yet has a structure built to resist great destructive forces. Several of the walls are completely of glass that would be swept away by a powerful shock wave, but could later be replaced. A continuation of his living-room rug is pulled up to shroud the glass wall in that room when a button is pressed.

Other walls of the house have a fluted design to resist shock wave and a fireproof exterior surface of Gunite.

A garden growing in half a foot of soil on the flat roof provides insulation against extreme heat or shock. All exposed wood, inside and outside of the house, is fire-resistant redwood coated with fire-retarding paint. In addition to the underground sanctuary, equipped with bottled oxygen, there is a bombproof shelter in the house itself, consisting of a large steel-and-con-crete vault containing a sitting room and bathroom. Other features of the home include a three-story indoor tree. * * *

13 comments
  1. soapy says: January 4, 20074:56 am

    I wonder if the parking cantilever has collapsed yet?

    As for the “fragile glass front that can easily be replaced”, I have to wonder what the definition of “easily” is, and whether the family would have time to dive for cover before being flayed to death by the flying shards?

    Still, if they survived they could perhaps corner the market in radioactive stained glass made from bits of the glassy beach outside.

  2. Firebrand38 says: August 22, 200710:55 am

    Anyone know if this house is still standing? If so where is it?

  3. Charlie says: August 22, 200711:03 am

    I would love to know too because this is an awesome house.

  4. cletis says: August 28, 20075:52 pm

    I found an article from 1960 Time about Hal Braxton Hayes and some financial trouble his company was in.
    the house was built in Beverly Hills but I have not been able to find an address.
    still searching

  5. jasonbo says: January 3, 200910:11 pm

    http://bulk.resource.or…

    Here is a court case against Hal Hayes Texas INC

  6. Firebrand38 says: August 4, 20101:47 pm

    @soapy: I came across this article from the 6 June 1960 issue of Time magazine

    http://www.time.com/tim…

    Hayes used all the building tricks he knew on his Beverly Hills house. It is entered through a narrow stairway flanked by huge concrete statues sculpted by Hayes himself; one represents Death, and the other, depicting an athlete who has fought his last battle and is dying, has the face of Hayes himself. The house has a figure 6-shaped swimming pool half inside the living room, lights that go on and off at the command of Hayes’s voice, and such homey essentials as faucets that dispense Scotch, bourbon and champagne. There is also a bomb shelter stocked with a three-week supply of food, water and oxygen. For further protection, Hayes installed a heavy green living-room rug that climbs up a glass wall at the press of a button. Says he: “At Hiroshima and Nagasaki, windows blew out and lots of people were killed by glass. The rug catches it. Since the rug is so heavy, it stops gamma rays and neutrons as well.”

    I guess he told you!

    I’d still love to find out what happened to this house. Hillside property in Beverly Hills and all…

  7. Toronto says: August 4, 20109:40 pm

    Excuse the swerve in topic, but that cantilevered parking spot reminded me of hillside grease racks – ever come across one? Basically a structure of large timbers (creosoted, to tie back to old Hal’s problems) built level with a diked road, one car length long. You parked on it, got out, and walked down the hill and under your car. We had a “self serve” one on a military base we lived on in ’63, which my father used like a hoist for oil changes, muffler work, and such. I also recall a small town garage that had one on an upper river bank to supplement their inside pit.

  8. Jon Hampton says: September 4, 20103:11 pm

    Hal B. Hayes was My Great Uncle. At one time He had over 21 personal residences all over the world.
    His company built military housing for the U.S. government. There was controversy. After He gave Zsa Zsa Gabor a 45 carat Diamond ring as an engagement present questions were raised and He was called before congress. L.B.J. and he did not get along. He mortgaged all of his properties in America for 1,000,000 cash and moved to Acapulco Mexico where He built a 21 story house. He hosted parties for a long list of celebrities, built and operated a huge night club named laMira and created bronze sculptures for some of the worlds finest museums (some ranging up to 40 feet tall). Many of his constructions still exist. One of his former residences on sierra alta way (off the sunset strip in Hollywood) is currently under contract to be purchased by Niki Hilton. He live out His days happily in great luxury with His Wife and His pet jaguar.

  9. Firebrand38 says: September 4, 20103:27 pm

    Jon Hampton: But what happened to the atom house? Where was it?

  10. Firebrand38 says: February 3, 201110:20 pm

    I found it!!

    http://la.curbed.com/ar…

    The address is 1235 Sierra Alta Way

    http://www.redfin.com/C…

    This was definitely the house used for filming the original 1972 film The Mechanic with Charles Bronson.

  11. Preparados para o fim do mundo | Conexões says: January 19, 20125:06 am

    [...] edição de agosto de 1953 da revista Popular Machanics traz uma matéria sobre um típico projeto com estes fins. Neste caso, o cidadão Hal B. Hayes [...]

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