Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects completes renovation of a rotating home

Spinning Ferrari

The chance to renovate a rotating midcentury house is a rare opportunity to make an already groundbreaking design even more compelling. Georgia-based firm Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects accepted the challenge when they got the call to update the Round House, a home designed in 1968 by forward-thinking architect Richard Foster for him and his family on a four-acre hillside property in Wilton, Connecticut.

The architects renovated the original 1968 home and added a spa pavilion that includes an exercise pool, an outdoor shower, and a steam shower. (Joe Polowczuk)

To bring the home up to safety code, the architects fitted glass panels into the railing along the building’s perimeter. (Iwan Baan)

A semi-enclosed outdoor space sits under the Round House's main level. (Iwan Baan)

Though the home may be likened to the world-famous Chemosphere designed by John Lautner, the Round House has the distinguishing feature of containing a large ball bearing ring base that allows its occupants to rotate the home at will. A full rotation, reportedly, can be performed in as little as 45 minutes.

The white walls of the central stairway contrast its light strip embedded concrete steps.

(Iwan Baan)

While the firm went to great lengths to bring the home’s exterior back to its original condition—including the preservation and/or replacement of its wooden shingles, its floor-to-ceiling windows, and the patio’s cobblestone flooring—its updates shine through the home’s interior spaces. The firm’s goal was to bring even more light into the 2,997 square foot floorplate by removing as many partitions as possible, adding to a previous renovation that eliminated the wall between the kitchen and living areas and created an open-plan scheme. This move created space for a larger master suite and a secondary bedroom.

The architects tore down interior walls to enlarge two bedroom, adding to a previous renovation that created an open plan kitchen and living room. (Iwan Baan)

Terrazzo floors and other brightly colored finishes lighten up the interior. (Iwan Baan)

Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects also updated the home’s material palette with the introduction of terrazzo flooring and other bright-toned and reflective finishes. Located within its structural core, the central staircase now exemplifies an impeccably minimal aesthetic. Light strips embed within Arctic-white walls and concrete steps. Lastly, a glass-pane railing was installed along the perimeter of the home to minimize visual obstruction while also bringing the house up to local safety codes.

The adjacent spa pavilion was designed using a complementary color and material palette. (Joe Polowczuk)

The minimally-furnished interior allows the exterior landscaping to become the focus of attention in every room. (Joe Polowczuk)

The interior of the spa pavilion. (Joe Polowczuk)

“A half-century later and after a meticulous and complicated seven year restoration,” the current owner stated. “The Round House is back as never before, like a rare Italian race car from the 1960s, carefully restored down to every nut and bolt.”

Header image: Exterior of the renovated Round House (Joe Polowczuk)