Mackintosh’s Hill House Becomes an International Iconic House!

Historical Exhibition, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Painter, Conversation

Our Badge of Honour

Istanbul’s Modernist Ataköy Housing Estate is At Risk

Early Furniture Designs by Le Corbusier on Permanent Display in Maison Blanche

Photo Report City Icons Amsterdam

Healing Through Architecture

Reopening An Iconic Modernist Landmark

City Icons Kick Off with Talk by Linda Vlassenrood

MORE MIES - Pure Architecture in Haus Lange Haus Esters

Through a Bauhaus Lens: Edith Tudor-Hart and Isokon

Modernism Week Lecture: 10 Years of Iconic Houses

Aluminaire House Grand Opening

Exhibition Icons of the Czech Avant-Garde

An Elementalist and Mediterranean Architecture

Icon for Sale - Loos Villa: Haus Horner

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams Europe - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams North America - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

SPECIAL – Iconic Collective Housing

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

Public Screenings and Private Streaming of Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Winy Wants a World Wonder

Welcome Atelier Volten!

Sleep in a Modernist Gem – Huis Billiet in Bruges

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - 100 Years Van Zessen House

Exclusive Tour and Film Screening Package

The Last House Designed by Adolf Loos Will Be Built in Prague

Icons of the Czech Avantgarde

Icon for Sale - Casa Legorreta

Rietveld Day: 200 Enthusiasts Explored 3 Utrecht Icons

Hurray! 10 Years Iconic Houses

7th International Iconic Houses Conference A Huge Success

Meet Conference Co-Chair Iveta Černá

Meet Conference Co-Chair Maria Szadkowska

Eighteen Iconic Houses Under One Roof

17 June - 'Pioneers-film' Screening Amersfoort

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Eesteren House Museum

Welcome Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky Zentrum in Vienna!

Welcome Vila Volman! Jewel of Czech Functionalism

Movie Night: Adolf Loos- Revolutionary Among Architects

'Inside Iconic Houses' Case Study House #26 Webcast in Webshop

Inside Iconic Houses at Taut’s Home in Berlin

Rediscovering Forgotten Loos Interiors in Pilsen

'Inside Iconic Houses' - Online Tour Program

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - The Diagoon House

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Rietveld Schröder House

Rietveld Houses Owners Association

Corberó Space: New Life for Hidden Jewel

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Pierre Cuypers' House and Workshops

Reeuwijk Celebrates Completion of Restoration Rietveld Homes!

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Van Doesburg Rinsema House

Welcome Rietveld's Van Daalen House!

Architect Harry Gessner Passed Away at 97

Watch Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House Now On Demand

Icon Saved: Dorchester Drive House

Welcome Umbrella House!

Iconic Houses in the Netherlands – Berlage’s Masterpiece

Iconic Houses in The Netherlands - Het Schip

Inside Iconic Houses - Tour of Maison Cazenave

Inside Iconic Houses Tours Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami

Casa Masó Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Inside Iconic Houses tours Roland Reisley's Usonian Frank Lloyd Wright House

Rietveld’s Experimental Housing in Reeuwijk Saved

Serralves Villa after restoration

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

Inside Iconic Houses - Isokon Building

Inside Iconic Houses - 16 December: Sunnylands with Janice Lyle

BCN-BXL Coderch-De Koninck - Beyond Time

New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform

Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina

A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo

Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman

Winy Maas on the Green Dip

Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s

Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer

Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism

Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage

Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces

July is Iconic Houses Month

Hans van Heeswijk on The Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Wessel de Jonge on Dutch Icons at Risk

Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!

How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event

Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!

Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970

Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments

Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design


Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck

Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

New Centre for Historic Houses of India

An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

Sponsors and Friends

An Afternoon with the Glucks

Chandler McCoy on Making Modern Houses Sustainable

Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK

Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon

Fiona Fisher on Iconic Interiors

Jocelyn Bouraly on Villa Cavrois

Mireia Massagué on finding success through a new kind of partnership

Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar

Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering

Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra

Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project

We welcome 13 new members!

BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!

LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

Iconic Reads

Iconic Houses End Year Message

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk

Renovation Gili House in Crisis

An Iconic Saga

Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies

Modernism on the East Coast

Iconic Houses in Latin America

Conference testimonials

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Natascha Drabbe - Iconic Houses: The Next Chapter

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House

John Arbuckle on Great House Tours

William D. Earls on the Harvard Five in New Canaan

Stover Jenkins on Working for Philip Johnson

Frederick Noyes on his Father’s House

Scott Fellows and Craig Bassam on their Passion for Preservation

Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)

Fabio Grementieri on Modernism in Argentina

Catalina Corcuera Cabezut on Casa Luis Barragán

Renato Anelli on Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro

Tim McClimon on Corporate Preservation

Amanda Nelson on Building Donor Relationships

John Bacon on Planned Giving

Jean-Paul Warmoes on the Art of Fundraising in America

Chandler McCoy on Why Less is More

Katherine Malone-France on Moving with the Times

Anne Mette Rahbæk on Philanthropic Investments and Preservation

Peter McMahon on Saving Modern Houses on Cape Cod

Toshiko Kinoshita on Japanese Modern Heritage Houses

Roland Reisley on Life in a Frank Lloyd Wright House

5th Iconic Houses Conference May 2018

Kristin Stone, Pasadena Tour Company

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

Crosby Doe, Architecture for Sale

Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico

De Stijl in Drachten

Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio

Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru

Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil

Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition

Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece

In Berlin’s Modernist Network

Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary

Meet Our New Foundation Board Members

Maintaining Aalto's Studio – Linoleum Conservation

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Plečnik House in Ljubljana

Iconic Dacha

Iconic Houses: A Bohemian Road Trip

Work in Progress: Capricho de Gaudí

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Henry van de Velde’s Study in Haus Hohe Pappeln Restored

Lynda Waggoner reports

A Conference to Remember

4th International Iconic Houses Conference

Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner

Fallingwater: European Lecture Tour

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Susan Macdonald, Getty Conservation Institute

John Mcllwee, Garcia House

Meet the Friends – Elisabeth Tostrup

Iconic Houses: The Story So Far

Willie van Burgsteden, designer Iconic Houses

Buff Kavelman, Philanthropic Advisor

Meet the Friends - Frederick Noyes

Sheridan Burke, GML Heritage

Meet the Friends - Raymond Neutra

Sidney Williams, Frey House

Franklin Vagnone and Deborah Ryan, Museum Anarchists

Meet the Friends - James Haefner

Toshiko Mori, architect

Malachi Connolly, Cape Cod Modern House Trust

Meet the Friends - Penny Sparke

Lucia Dewey Atwood, Eames House

Cory Buckner, Mutual Housing Site Office

Jeffrey Herr, Hollyhock House

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Sarah Lorenzen, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences

Ted Bosley, Gamble House

Keeping It Modern - Getty Conservation Grants

Meet the Friends - Thomas Schönauer

Wim de Wit, Stanford University

Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy

Jesse Lattig, Pasadena Heritage

Join us in Los Angeles! Update

Work in Progress: Casa Vicens

Work in Progress: Van Wassenhove House

Work in Progress: Villa Cavrois

Work in Progress: The Pearlroth House

Conference calls!

Follow us!

Third Iconic Houses Conference a huge success

Conference House Tours Barcelona

Marta Lacambra, Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera

Natascha Drabbe, Iconic Houses Foundation

Special speaker Oscar Tusquets

Jordi Tresserras, UNESCO Network ‘Culture, tourism and development’

Christen Obel, Utzon Foundation

Elena Ruiz Sastre, Casa Broner

Fernando Alvarez Prozorovich, La Ricarda

Tim Benton, Professor of Art History (Emeritus)

Susana Landrove, Docomomo Spain

Rossend Casanova, Casa Bloc

Conference Program 25 November 2014

Jordi Falgàs, Casa Rafael Masó

Documentary La Ricarda

Marga Viza, Casa Míla/La Pedrera

Celeste Adams, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

Conference 25 November 2014 at La Pedrera

Henry Urbach, The Glass House

Victoria & Albert Museum London November 12

Tommi Lindh, new director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Museum

Iveta Černá, Villa Tugendhat

Lynda Waggoner, Fallingwater

Kimberli Meyer, MAK Center

Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld

Barragán House on Screen

Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move

Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open

September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris

June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments

Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook

Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture

Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse

New arrivals: Spain special

MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June

Taut's Home wins Europa Nostra Award

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Michel Richard, Fondation Le Corbusier

Symposium The Public and the Modern House

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Round Table Review

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

Philippe Bélaval, Centre des monuments nationaux

Posted February 4, 2016

Guest of Honor - Harry Gesner

Modernism’s Maverick: A Conversation with Harry Gesner

In addition to leading an almost impossibly romantic life - incorporating spells as a treasure-hunting archaeologist in South America and teaching water-skiing aboard Errol Flynn’s boat - our conference Guest of Honor Harry Gesner (1925) has built some of Modernism’s most unorthodox houses, capturing the soul of California in architecture. These include his Scantlin House at the Getty Center, which Getty architect Richard Meier insisted on preserving. On our tours, we visit the Sandcastle in Malibu, the remarkable circular home where Gesner has lived since 1970. The legendary architect takes the conference stage, too, for a special question and answer session about his work.


Watch here a video and interview that was made by our media partner Dwell.

Where did your interest in building houses originate?
It began when I was a kid, delivering papers in LA. In those days, a lot of new houses were being built on my round, including many interesting ones. I’d walk in and have a look them. I always wanted to be an architect; I just had an intuition that it would be a fun thing to do. This was even though my uncle - an architect, unlicensed although he was very good - told me I didn’t have enough talent. Of course, telling me that just made me want to do it even more. I was always drawing houses, even then. That’s really why I never wanted to study architecture; I’d always felt one jump ahead.

So how did you get into the profession?
After the war, I worked as a television cartoonist in New York, but I’d take the train to Yale to listen in on the lectures of Frank Lloyd Wright. Somehow or other, he ended up inviting me to join him at Taliesin West, but that wasn’t for me. If I’d done it, I’d just have ended up being a paler version of Frank Lloyd Wright. Instead, I decided to give myself ten years to teach myself to be an architect. I’d pick a construction site that looked interesting and I’d ask to work there as an apprentice. I was a carpenter, stonemason, or anything else I could get into. I only picked exceptional houses. That’s how I learned. As an architect, I believe you should always be able to construct the buildings you design. I always work on my own houses.

To say you’ve led an interesting life would be a huge understatement. What is the link between your many adventures and your work?
While I was fighting in World War II, I always said to myself, and to anyone who might be listening, ‘If I survive this, I’m going to do something important with my life’.
On my travels, I learned to appreciate fine architecture. When I was in Europe during World War II, whenever I could I’d explore a castle. Castles are hands-on architecture. The masons designed, and built them, from the intricate knowledge that they had in their heads. You don’t find plans for medieval castles. Seeing them made me think more about the fine points of designing a habitat, and what stuck in my head was that these were autonomous structures. I try to design autonomous houses that function.

Do you have a favorite house among the many you have built?
It’s the one I am working on. Even though I’ve designed over 100 houses over the years, my favorite is always the current one. I just started one this week - a series of domes and a keep for an engineer and a writer and their kids. It’s on a 10-acre site, between the mountains and the ocean.

How do you go about designing a house?
The way I design is to go to the site and sit there for hours at a time. I return to it again and again at different times. It’s a very individual approach, and each of my house solutions only applies to that particular site. I don’t have any formulas. I design to nature, taking account of the sun and wind. Nature is my teacher, rather than other architecture. I don’t study other people’s work.

Apart from the new house, what else are you currently working on?
There’s the Autonomous Tent, which doesn’t depend on formal foundations and can be put up in a few days. It doesn’t even require you to level the land, so it doesn’t destroy its natural contours. Although it’s informal architecture, it will easily last 100 years. Another autonomous housing project is the Mushroom House, a tripod house above the ground - I think we have to get back into the trees! Then Kelly Slater, the great surfer, has this project called The Perfect Wave - an engineered artificial wave that will be a quarter of a mile long, which he has been developing for 12 years. He has contacted me to masterplan the project.

You are known for your houses on ‘unbuildable’ sites, like the Cahuenga Pass Boathouses. Is there any site that can’t be used?
No. I can solve every problem. I love a challenge. Most of my houses are on difficult sites - I have no problems with problems!

Do you still surf?
I did until quite recently, but I’ve stopped now. I’m 90 and it’s ok to let go of certain things.

How about your legacy? What will happen to your archive, for example?
My archive is in the very safe hands of Lisa Stoddard, who is doing a great job looking after it and will continue to do so. It’s currently in my garage, and I would love it to go the Getty Center. As for my home, the Sandcastle, it will be 50 years old in four years from now and wlll therefore be eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is the biggest challenge that architects face today?
I think it’s to get away from the grid and design self-sufficient homes - right down to the collection of water. We need to find ways to stop polluting. If we don’t get away from fossil fuels, we will cancel ourselves out with pollution. My biggest interest, all through my life, has been the environment. We are so fortunate to live on this beautiful planet. We must take action to stop ruining it and live in balance with nature. We need to reassess our place in this world - and architecture is a small part of doing that.

Watch the film ‘Harry Gesner: Architect, Environmentalist, Visionary’ by Eric Minh Swenson

Images photo gallery: from the book 'Houses of the Sundown Sea: The Architectural Vision of Harry Gesner'

Posted February 4, 2016