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Fun Haus - Haunted Haus Tour

We’ve reached the end of October and it’s time again for costume parties, scary movies, and, our favorite, haunted “Haus”-es! We’ve scanned the globe to locate the coolest and creepiest abodes. As a primer for this post, read this excellent New York Times article on the subject by Patricia Leigh Brown published back in 1987.

It’s no trick, we’re treating you to a ghoulish gallery of quirky, spooky, and funky paranormal pads and macabre mansions.  Enjoy!

The 1924 Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Write, is shown in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, Friday, June 19, 2009. The badly damaged house that offers breathtaking views of the Hollywood Hills and has appeared in several movies is being sold for $15 million. (AP Photo/Philip Scott Andrews)

The 1924 Ennis House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is shown in the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, Friday, June 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Philip Scott Andrews)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House has been a popular film set for various movies from the 1959 House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner.

Winchester House

The Winchester Mystery House is one our favorites due to its multiple doors and stairs that go nowhere, windows overlooking other rooms, and stairs with odd-sized risers.  Apparently the house’s “designers” were out of this world!  Allegedly, Sarah Winchester held nightly séances to ask the spirit world to help her design a house that would protect her from “bad” spirits.


We love The Dragspelhuset Accordion House from Sweden. It reminds us of a goblin’s cottage and is called the accordion house because it has an expandable room that can extend out over the adjacent pond.
The_Overlook_HotelWho can forget these famous haunted houses from the movies? We’ll concede that in the context of the story, the Overlook Hotel from The Shining counts as a single family residence…

This abandoned house in Wales, UK, known as the “Cloud House” by locals.  Its inhabitants disappeared without a trace and left all of their belongings behind…


And if you’re in the market for a Devilish dwelling check out these real-life haunted residences up for sale…We’ll take John Lennon’s old apartment in the Dakota Building here in Manhattan!  Wait.  That’s not the Rosemary’s Baby apartment is it?

If you’re wondering how to design a frightfully delightful haunted house experience, check out this article on FastCoDesign.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Celebrating Architecture and Design Around the Globe

Sylphe, Chaumont garden festival

With the advent of Archtober here in New York, we thought we’d share how the rest of the world celebrates architecture.  Pack your bags, pull out your passports, and get ready for an international design tour-de-force!

From our cousins across the pond comes UK: LOVE ARCHITECTURE. The festival is national, taking in this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award-winning buildings, as well grand old piles in the country, which become accessible during the National Trust for the Heritage’s Open Days (September). Oh, and clog-dancing, without which no festival would be complete.


Friends House, London. Architect: John
McAslan and Partners. Winner: RIBA London Award 2015. Photo: Hufton and Crow


18th-century engraving of the 12th century Amberley Castle by Samuel and Nathaniel Buck

The French Mediterranean towns of Montpellier and La Grande Motte host the Festival des Architectures Vives, or Lively Architecture Festival (September). Site-specific installations by young architects and designers are on view in streets and courtyards, some of which are only accessible during the festival, in the historic city centers. The call for 2016 entries is open.


Montepellier: ”Médusa” by Alban Guého

France also hosts the Journées du Patrimoine (September) a wildly popular event that’s loosely equivalent to Open House New York (Oct. 17-18, 2015) but with much older buildings. The doors of such exclusive sites as the Palais de l’Elysée (the President’s residence) are open to the public. Visitors to the International Garden Festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire (April to November), which has been drawing crowds of art and garden lovers for 23 years, can also take in the somewhat older (ca. 1000) Château de Chaumont.

Above: Chaumont sur Loire: “Sylphe” – Festival International des Jardins, © E. Sander

chaumont gnomes

Chaumont sur Loire: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” – Festival International des Jardins, 2012 – © E. Sander

In Africa, Johannesburg’s AZA Future City (September) is a festival of talks, events, and tours that celebrates creativity and demonstrates the social and economic value of design (not to mention soccer!).

soccer johannesburg

Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa – Architect: Populous, Boogertman Urban Edge & Partners; Photographer: Chris Gascoigne

Down under, the Adelaide Festival of Architecture and Design is currently in full swing (October 8-13). Attractions include a rooftop tour, open studios, and – we’re saving the best for last — a boutique bar crawl.

woods bagot model

This model by Woods Bagot is among those displayed at Space Land, an architectural model exhibition on show during the Adelaide Festival of Architecture and Design

Architecture & Design Film Festival – Kyle Bergman Q+A

kyle1 copy cropped

Here in New York City, it’s Architecture and Design Month “Archtober” (ärk’tōbər)! It’s the fifth annual month-long festival of architecture activities, programs and exhibitions taking place during the month of October.  Around the globe, there are a bounty of cultural festivals that also celebrate excellent architecture and great design and, this month, we’re highlighting some of the world’s best. Let’s start here at home in NYC with the Architecture & Design Film Festival… 


Now, in its seventh year, the Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to New York, October 13 -18, with an invigorating selection of feature-length, short, and documentary films. Expect to be engaged and entertained by lively discussions with architects, designers, filmmakers and industry leaders. We caught up with Kyle Bergman, the founder and director of the Architecture & Design Film Festival.


Q: How did the festival get started?

A: I’m an architect by profession and I’ve always thought about the great connection between architecture and film. To me, they’re two sides of the same coin — architecture and film are ways for us to tell stories. They share similar characteristics, for one, they are both public acts. Both art forms consider light, scale, proportion, and it’s really a balance between art and science. Merging architecture and film was something that came natural to me. I really wanted to develop a film festival that engaged the general public as well as the design community.


Q: What is the film selection process?

A: We accept submissions year-round. We preview around 250 films and try to stick to a schedule of 25-30 films. However, this year we ended up with a selection of 33 films, which speaks volumes about the high caliber of submissions we received. Our selection process is “organic”, and we don’t adhere to criteria; we care more about how the films capture the creative design process.


Q: Were there themes that came together in making selections for this year’s programs?

A: No, we don’t start with themes, it generally evolves. But a Nordic theme became apparent when we were finalizing our program schedule. For instance, we’re showing Jytte Rex’s acclaimed portrait of the late Henning Larsen, and The Infinite Happiness, which features the giant 8 House designed by Bjarke Ingels. Festivalgoers may even detect mini-Irish and family themes.


Q: Can you describe the physical and emotional duress of putting on a festival like this?

A: I may disappoint you with my answer… I’m a firm believer that if you like what you do, you don’t even think about it.


Q: Tell us the best and worst part of your job.

A: The festival is something that I started, so I’m proud of that. But I would say the best part of my job is having the opportunity to increase architecture and design dialogue, and make it more appealing to a wider audience, not just for design professionals. Then, there are the filmmakers…I feel that the festival puts a spotlight on these talented filmmakers and showcases their passion and dedication to their craft.


Don’t miss out on the nation’s largest film festival celebrating architecture and design. Tickets and the program schedule are available here.