Ant Farm – House of the Century (1972) Texas

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Mojo Lake, Angleton, Texas, 1972
(Chenango lake) 

23920 FM 521 Rd, Angleton, TX 77515, United States
6GVP+92 Chenango, Texas, United States

architects : Doug Michels & Chip Lord

In 1971, a wealthy young couple (Marylin et Alvin Lubetkin), fascinated by the Ant Farm approach, carte blanche to the group of architects for the construction of a house weekend.. Designed and built by Richard Jost Up’ in 1972 near Angleton, in Texas. The ferrocement residence received an award citation from the progressive architecture 1973. opening sequence: Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Mexico.

(Doug Michels et Chip Lord) with Richard Jost.



Ant Farm, Poole House Remodel San Francisco. California, 1974.


The House of the Century
Ant Farm 1972-2007 – Comp Plywood varnish, painting, mechanical printing
pen on cardboard 27.5 x 43 x 32 cm

This project was commissioned by a wealthy young family (Marylin et Alvin Lubetkin) in love with Ant Farm's work, who gave the group carte blanche to design a weekend house.

Marilyn Oshman

Houston with one of the first models of the Maison du siècle circa 1971.

Called “The house of the century”, it was built in Ferrocement, in an artisanal way and evoking the organic architectures already experienced by the group in lighter pneumatic architectures. The house was published in the journal Progressive Architecture, from which she received an award and presents a large series of advertising materials (in addition to its provocative name) to build capacity for the future, which will make it the home of the century (from 1972 at 2072).

Ant Farm is a group of & rsquo; American architects who produced experimental works 1968 at 1978.


Made 1973 lakefront Mojo near Houston, Texas, this "house of the century" includes living spaces on the ground floor and a tower.

Richard Jost talks about the building process of the house of the century.. in Texas

Designed and built by Doug Michels and Chip Lord from the avant-garde design collective of San Francisco Ant Farm, with architect Richard Jost, this lakeside retreat near Houston, commissioned by a patron, has an evocative organic form, with round living and kitchen spaces flanking a ladder-accessible tower that contains a stacked bathroom and bedrooms. Constructed from steel mesh and layers of chicken wire that have been plastered, waterproofed and coated with cement mixture, sand and water known as gunite, the structure has large porthole windows and an interior of wooden floors and integrated wooden counters and tables . A fireplace with an exposed fireplace was used to heat the house; the TV antenna at the top of the tower mocked a then popular Pop Art reference.


The structure lasted for about a decade, during a flood in the middle of the years 1980 largely destroyed the interior, leaving the structure in its current state, semi-ruined. Like all great architecture, this evokes several interpretations: in tribute to the Apollo program in Houston, as the front of a Ford for years 1930, and even as a phallic symbol of the age of sex drugs and rock and roll for years 1960. He also predicted 21st century interests, such as the creation of biomorphic forms now performed on computer, constructing buildings using design methods & construction, experimenting with low-cost materials borrowed from other industries and reducing the size of a home. for reasons of durability and accessibility. Well documented in several YouTube videos by Richard Jost, this house is as much, if not, more, of this century that the last.

In 2010, This short film was acquired by the permanent collection of the Department of Architecture and Design Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) At New York, NEW.

The House of the Century in 1973 before being ravaged by flood waters in 1985.


Interior of the house of the century: cuisine (to the left), dining room (In the center) and living room (to the right) (Tom Fox / photographer)


Ant Farm Citizens Time Capsule

Citizens Time Capsule, 1975. Entrance sign and Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon before burial, Lewiston, New York. Printing from a negative 35 mm black and white scanned. Earl W State Park. Brydges Artpark. Part of the Artpark Archival Collection at the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives.

Cadillac Ranch (1974)

Members of the collective thought that & rsquo; architecture and the media could be created by n & rsquo; anyone using inexpensive materials and easily accessible and ad hoc taught d & rsquo; person to person & rsquo; other. They created inflatable environments in many events, schools, conferences and festivals, including free Rolling Stones concert at Altamont.

At about the same time was starting Ant Farm, Sony portapaks was launched on the market. This portable camera was autonomous, battery powered and could be held by a person, which was a new ability to & rsquo; time. As the & rsquo; said Chip Lord, there was a feeling that if we demand the tools, we could influence the speech. When Ant Farm got its hands on the new portable cameras and used their skills to customize a country van, the “From media” was born.

Founded in 1968 San Francisco by Chip Lord and Doug Michels, Ant Farm was an alternative architecture practice, graphic design and environmental design, which also included activists Curtis Schreier and occasionally Douglas Hurr and Mark Hudson. Ant Farm was an innovative group in the context of the culture-cons who worked with the media since the late 1960. His media events, on site facilities, performance and video tapes combine Pophumor sassy with cultural and political criticism. Ant Farm was dissolved in 1978 When & rsquo; a fire destroyed his studio at Pier 40 San Francisco.

In 1970, Ant Farm visited the nation in a Chevy truck equipped as a mobile television studio, registering their journey and demonstrate their inflatables to various stops along the way. Unlike a sedentary lifestyle and mainstream, broadcast news, Antfarmla mobility facilitated the & rsquo; sensory input costs and enabled a direct connection to many different people. According to the foundation Ant Farm member Chip Lord, the van and media inflatables illustrated "a larger theme in against -culture of nomadics, constantly moving , but somehow to the community in this process. »

Inflatables Nomades 1970’s.

Early work d & rsquo; Ant Farm were mainly filled & rsquo; hot air … As in, they were heavily composed of & rsquo; inflatables designed by individual. What began with the & rsquo; experimentation cargo parachutes became an "environment" giant inflatable, where people could be dragged to the & rsquo; interior, either play above. Chip Lord realized later that c & rsquo; was a direct response to the brutalism, l & rsquo; dominant architecture of rectangular concrete behemoth of & rsquo; time.

L & rsquo; "dreamcloud" architecture was described by the artists and the people who & rsquo; have experienced as temporary, nomadic, malleable and even sensual. A French critic compared the inflatables to a softening erection. They placed these huge bubbles in a variety d & rsquo; unexpected places such as deserts, parking, concerts, and d & rsquo campus university.

In the community culture of & rsquo; time, festival venues become short-term cities, and inflatables have imagined people new architectural possibilities utopian. While "the & rsquo; architecture square" was bound by the limits and laws, inflatables allowed d & rsquo; have a new dimension where n & rsquo; there are no rules.

The experimental d & rsquo collective, art and design "Antfarm" was founded in 1968 by Chip Lord and Doug Michels. During their residency at CalArts Design School, they gave lectures and workshops. Right here, a photo and a & lsquo; Ant Farmer’ at work, cutting skylights in the roof of the van media CalArts.

A Texas Media Van.

 Ant Farm, indoor Video Console 1971

This historic video tour 1970 when Truckstop Tour d & rsquo; Ant Farm Media Van shown with all mobile components shown in & rsquo; Tulane University, to New Orleans. Search shower heated to & rsquo; solar energy, kitchen trailer and & rsquo; Ice-9 inflatable Mark Hudson, Doug Michels and Doug Hurr was the & rsquo; crew on this tour stop Truckstop.

Cars are Entertainment chapter of Automerica book by Chip Lord, 1967.
All rights reserved © Curtis Schreier

Ant Farm Media Van crew in Los Angeles at Cal Arts, 1970 LtoR Doug Michels, Hudson Marquez, Betsy Ross, Ben Holmes, Randy Eberle, Craig Hodgetts © Chip Lord

From left to right: Doug Michels, Hudson Marquez, Betsy Ross Edison, Ben Holmes

and Randy Eberle.

With Media Van, The Angels (1971),  2011 d & rsquo digital drawing; archives, 24 x 36 Courtesy Chip Lord Perhaps the most literal of these vehicles was the Media Van, a Chevy turned TV-studio on wheels that the group has traveled throughout the United States to show their work, using a bubble skylight and video recording equipment to document their journey along the way.

Ant Farm Media Van discovered.

Discovered at the beginning of & rsquo; year 2008, Media Van was redirected by Lord, Schreier and Tomb as "internal post-combustion vehicle" containing a Digital Huqquh. Then he was exposed in the exhibition at SFMOMA “The Art of Participation” organized by Rudolf Freiling. Participants could "plug in" to Huqquh and donate d & rsquo; a digital file to the time capsule evolving. In February 2009, temporal capsule contained more 4000 photos and digital music files.

Ant Farm Media Van v.08 in situ SFMOMA

Media Burn (extract) Chip Lord

Although built in durable materials, the house is reminiscent by its organic shapes of the inflatable structures made by Ant Farm, in particular the ICE-9 prototype.
Using the principles of self-construction and an artisanal method of ferrocement (cement projection on mesh reinforcement), the architects came up with this playful and suggestive form of pop object emerging in the heart of a natural landscape.

the Time Capsules of Ant-Farm and LST, an exhibition exploring the changing cultural attitudes vis-à-vis conservation, confidentiality and the perception of time and space. Founded in San Francisco in 1968, Ant Farm was a group of avant-garde architecture, design and media art whose mission was to promote alternative thinking and redesign of public consciousness through "performance" specific architectural site and media events, many of which incorporated, but also subverted, American popular iconography to serve as vehicles of cultural introspection.

The project also explores the theme of architecture as a space of exchange and communication. Here as elsewhere, Ant Farm cultivated a particular mode of exchange with sponsors, through photographic montages or drawings with colored pencils, deliberately contrary to all architectural conventions. The House of the Century won a great success during its production and received the jury prize awarded by the magazine Progressive Architecture. Damaged several times by floods, Today it is almost destroyed.

And the Time Capsule itself is designated to be kept up & rsquo; in 2030 when it is exposed again by SFMOMA. In the last month, Life Without Buildings followed the redevelopment of the van Ant Farm Media v.08 (Time Capsule), presented as part of the & rsquo; exhibition The Art of Participation: 1950 Now to the & rsquo; exhibition of the Museum & rsquo; modern art in San Francisco.


Virginia Maneval

I am the daughter of Jean Benjamin Maneval, famous urban architect who notably created the Bulle Six Coques, a plastic house from the pop years. You can also find me on my Facebook page or on my page La Bulle Six Coques by Jean Benjamin Maneval.

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