|Living room of the Schweickher-Langsdorf House. |
The ceiling is heavy re-sawn Douglas fir columns/beams between panels of clear-aged redwood boards.
A platform couch lined with colorful pillows runs beneath one of Martyl Langsdorf's paintings.
Built on the edge of a farm in what was then the town of
the land (7 acres) was given to the architect as part of his fee for his work
in transforming a large barn on the Kern farm into a residence for the
family in the mid-1930’s. (That house has since been destroyed by fire.) Roselle,
Not knowing it's history, one would think the house had been recently built, with its low profile, flat roof, and boxy shape. Built of brick, glass, and wood, Schweikher's house was unique for its time - eco-friendly and mid-century Modern before such terms even existed. Schweikher is often attributed as one of the pioneers of passive solar technology.
|Two views of the original master bedroom. A long room, note the wall of built-in storage space in the below photo.|
|Several fireplaces like this one are found throughout the home. A wall of glass overlooks a Zen garden and |
provides passive solar heat to this room in winter. Clerestory ventilation panels in the ceiling provide cooling.
On a trip to
the Schweikhers were exposed to traditional wood houses, and it was on the trip
home that Schweikher conceived the idea for their home, using Japanese
influences in his design. He had recently won a monetary award from General
Electric for designing an "industrial building of the future", and he
already had the land, so he moved ahead with his plan. Japan
|Open breezeway; the studio to the left. The same brick is used inside the home.|
The structure is surrounded by a landscape
designed by noted Midwestern landscape architect Franz Lipp and was the cover
story of the May 1947 Architecural Forum magazine. Franz Lipp also designed the gardens and ornamental plant collections at Cantigny Gardens and Museum in Wheaton , IL.
|A view of the back of the house, showing the studio and the cantilivered addition|
The Schweikhers lived here until 1953 (15 years) when Paul took the position of Chairman of the Yale School of Architecture and the family moved
The new owners were Alexander and Martyl Langsdorf. Their search for a home was frustrating, until they came upon the Schweikher home. Martyl converted Schweikher's studio to her art studio and she and Alexander converted the conference room, with its view of the Salt Creek, into their master suite. They did little else to the house.
The Langsdorfs were also quite well known for their lavish parties, and guest lists included politicians, artists, actors and writers including, over time, 12 Nobel Laureates.
In the 1970s the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District began buying up land around them, and the Langsdorfs worked to register the house with the National Register of Historic Places in order to protect it.
|Todd Wenger, Executive Director of the Schweikher House Preservation Trust|
in front of original photos of the architect and the home.
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