Inside Iconic Houses Tours are back! Isokon Building 18 November

Inside Iconic Houses - Live Online Tour Program

Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

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

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

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

An Afternoon with the Glucks

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

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

Our Badge of Honour

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

SPECIAL – Iconic Housing

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

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

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

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

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

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

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Iconic Dacha

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

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Documentary La Ricarda

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

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

Updated 22 March 2021

Patrick Weber on Discovering an Unknown Icon

Patrick Weber is associate professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. We ask him about researching the mysterious Casa Sperimentale with his partner Sabine Storp and Bartlett students – plus other unknown icons.

Can you tell us about your research on Casa Sperimentale?
We came across Casa Sperimentale (1968-78), also known as the Casa Albero – ‘the Treehouse’ – in 2014, on an Instagram post by a fashion photographer. We were intrigued because we didn’t know it and no one else had heard of it. Initially we just wanted to find out what it was. But it seems the longer we research it, the more opaque the building’s history becomes. We’re certain the research project has just begun.

What approach and methods are you using?
We’re currently collecting different aspects of the building’s history. Very little scholarly research been undertaken, most of the published stories are just made up. Our research collects first-hand stories through interviews, we are building up an archive of information for further research, and we are working with 3D scanning to document the current state of the structure, which is very fragile. The 3D scanning can form the basis of an immersive VR dataset allowing a virtual visit to the building without putting more strain on the actual structure. We are also working on a speculative project exploring the ideas behind it.

What would you like the outcome of the documentation to be?
Ideally, we would like the building to be saved and made accessible to the interested public.
Too many stories around the Casa Sperimentale are just not correct –they are often based on speculation or misinformation. We would like to set up an online archive to collect all information around the building, the architects and the wider social and cultural context that led to its creation.

3D scan of Casa Sperimentale by StorpWeber. Architects Giuseppe Perugini, Uga de Plaisant and Raynaldo Perugini.

In general, what role can universities play in heritage house preservation?
Fortunately, the Bartlett allows us to pursue our own research interests. It helps to draw on the resources of the institution to explore different aspects of the history of the building.

Why is Casa Sperimentale so important?
Our research has shown that the Casa Sperimentale is first of all not a Brutalist building – it is quite the opposite. It was conceived as an experiment to explore design ideas developed by Giuseppe Perugini and his former teacher Bruno Zevi. Our research seeks to correctly situate the building in the correct place in post-war Italian architecture.
The nature of the experiment was to explore different ways of design – its importance is in the way it was created.

What’s next for you in terms of iconic houses? Are you planning more documentation projects like this one?
The Casa Sperimentale is one of our ‘pet projects’ – something we work on as a hobby. The other one is the relatively unknown Unité by Le Corbusier in Briey – the one they never publish. This project is a building that has been at risk, having been under threat of demolition in 1987. Since then the residents have transformed it into a collection of homes, very few following the Le Corbusier lifestyle.
Since being involved with the building many more ‘unknown’ structures have suddenly popped up on our radar, many of them located in Italy.
Maybe there is something about experimental buildings, and buildings that on the surface appear to be failures, that resonates with us.

Do you have a favourite example of a young (post-1965) heritage house?
Our favourite house at the moment isn’t a house yet, and it might never be one. We visited Keisuke Oka’s Arimaston House, an experimental concrete project, in Tokyo last year. He has been building it for the last 15 years – much like Casa Sperimentale – in an organic way with little or no plans, just following his intuition. This will be a building to watch out for in the future.

Arimaston Building. Photo: Ryudai Takano. Courtesy Yumiko Chiba Associates Zeit-Foto Salon.  

What are the biggest threats to iconic houses right now?
Talking about the Casa Sperimentale over the last couple of years has shown us how little it is known by fellow architects. And the ones who know it do not know any of the background behind its creation. Owning an iconic piece of architecture can be a blessing but it can definitely be a burden. The financial impact of the upkeep of an icon is challenging. An effort to list a building to preserve it for the future can have a detrimental impact on a project, as it affects the ability of the owner to make it work for them and to earn its upkeep. As usual it is not just enough to list something, it needs a carefully considered approach.

What are the biggest opportunities for museum houses right now?
Safety is always in numbers, in getting organized, in pooling resources. The Iconic Houses network is a fantastic opportunity and an important platform for buildings that are at risk.

You found Casa Sperimentale on Instagram. Any thoughts on social media?
Sadly, the longer we work on the project the more we have to conclude that Instagram geotagging is detrimental to it, it attracts more visitors all looking for the Instagram shot for their followers. Are we part of the problem?

Patrick recommends watching the trailer of BUTOHOUSE - a film by Ilya Bêka & Louise Lemoine.


Jane Szita

Updated 22 March 2021