An Extraordinary Architectural Design In Joshua Tree

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright‘s disciple Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, the architectural design, Doolittle House, has been meticulously preserved by its current owners.

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The structure is formed of 26 vertebrae that rise through the interior as vertical columns and fan out horizontally to create a roof above. Light is let in through the gaps in these spines, and there are no traditional windows.

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The Doolittle house should theoretically be hard to miss. Designed by architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg in the 1980s, the 4,643-square-foot modern home rises up out of the California desert. Yet the house is both discreet and, once you’re inside, surprisingly cosy. This is organic architectural design at its sublime and also at its most dramatic. The underlying shape is soft and rounded like a pebble, and yet, like a desert plant, the house has an overarching spikiness to it.

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Interior designer John Vugrin worked closely with Kellogg to create a series of custom-made objects fashioned from wood, metal, and marble in the house, including this spiny dining table.
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The house is resolutely open to the outside world, allowing its residents, Kristopher Dukes and Matt Jacobson, to watch the light continuously shift throughout the day. “You feel like it’s the Platonic ideal of how to live naturally,” says Dukes.
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There is no true ceiling in this architectural design. The concrete pillars come together like two hands about to hold. Between the fingers are almost-invisible windows, as seen here in the master suite.

 

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Inside this modern architecture project, there are no traditional windows. Instead, light seeps inside this modern art building through the gaps in the ribbed roof overhead. Boulders and parts of the rocky land are integrated into the walls. The master bathroom of this architectural design backs into the hill and has a waterfall that trickles down the boulders. All these details blend to create a unique sense of being both inside and outside.

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In the master bathroom, the rocky hill provides the perfect backdrop for a waterfall. “The sink looks like something out of Gaudi’s imagination,” describes photographer Elizabeth Daniels.
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A mushroom-shaped tower sits at the centre of the interior revolving around an internal elevator.
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Reiterating the inspiration of a desert plant, the home is almost deliberately foreboding to the outside world in order to forge a feeling of protection inside. This portcullis-like bronze door is a case in point.

It was these factors that attracted writer Kristopher Dukes and her Facebook executive husband Matt Jacobson to it when they first came to view it in 2015. While the big, dramatic statement of the architectural design first drew the attention of Dukes and Jacobson, it was the micro-level of custom detail that retained it.

“The first time I experienced the house, I was blown away by all of the uncompromising details,” says Dukes.

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The new owners chose to leave the architectural design in its original condition when they acquired the property in 2015; although work began in the 1980s, the original owners only moved into the house in the early 2000s, after it took two decades to complete.
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While spiny, spiky details such as this table proliferate throughout the architectural design, there is an overwhelming sense of calm created by the use of natural materials.

Doctor Dolittle was famous for living with a menagerie of wild creatures. That sentiment is repeated in the Doolittle house, which is immersed in the wild outdoors yet protected from it with its spines and exterior shell.

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See Also: Here Are The Contemporary Buildings That Redefined Recent Architecture

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