Houses that Hang from Poles (Sep, 1932)

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Houses that Hang from Poles

A house which hangs suspended from a central mast, in whose bath room you bathe in a pint of water, where clothes are laundered in fog and where power is supplied
from garbage —this is the revolutionary type of home science okays for the future.

A “TOAD STOOL” home, delivered to your own plot of ground and assembled at a complete cost of $2000 for an average-sized house—including furnishings of as radical design as the house itself—is the latest contribution of architecture to the solution of the ever present housing problem.

The house has rooms, walls, floors, but except for these essentials it bears but an obscure resemblance to what we are accustomed to think of as a home. It literally hangs from a pole, a hollow central mast in which all the power units of the house are installed, and it is crammed with amazing labor-saving devices driven by power derived from refuse.

Buckminster Fuller is the New York architect who has thrown tradition overboard in creating what he calls his “Dymaxion” house. He first announced his idea some time ago, but only recently has he completed the finishing touches which put his creation on a commercial basis.

“I started in to develop a dwelling,” says Mr. Fuller, “that would be more comfortable, more habitable, more sanitary, more economical, more self-contained and which could be operated at the least expense of human energy. When I started it was with an inquiring mind. I decided to accept no housing feature because it ‘had always been used/ but to pick only those features which proved necessary and expedient. That left me with floors, ceiling and walls. I think I can safely say that in those features is found the only comparison between my Dymaxion house and the common dwelling of today.”

Living Quarters 14 Feet Above Ground

Such a statement is no exaggeration. The only stable member of the “Toad Stool” house is the central mast. The entire weight of the structure is hung from this mast. Also, contained in it is the machinery for the completion of hundreds of humdrum tasks, even to the elevator that eliminates the necessity of stairways in the house. It carries tenants from the ground to the living quarters 14 feet above, or an additional 12 feet to the suspended play deck.

  1. Stannous says: May 31, 20063:52 pm


    I am amazed and amused by all these wild and wacky house designs. I live in a 103 y.o. Edwardian and do a lot of repairs on SF Victorians and except for wiring and the switch to metal studs the basic design and use of ‘balloon*’ construction hasn’t changed in almost 200 years.

    *Balloon construction is the use of slender walls and ceiling trusses to support the roof.

  2. Ray says: August 20, 20068:08 am

    Very similar to an earthquake-proof building in Vancouver. See:

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