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.
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.
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.
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.
“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)