ALL IMAGES HAVE BEEN SCANNED WITHOUT PERMISSION BY MY ANONYMOUS MONKEY ASSISTANT AND FOR WHOM I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE, AND HAVE NEVER MET.
As published in NEST, A Quarterly of Interiors, Spring 2003
What with the weather and all that, it seems like the perfect time for an underground house. While snow or tornados and other extreme weathers swirl above, you could be comfy swimming in your non-chlorinated pool (for algae does not grow underground) and having a cookout while the smoke is funneled out through the pipe that runs up through the fake hollowed out ‘tree’ behind it.
Imagine calling up your friends and saying, “Come on over for the weekend and stay till they plow us out above. We have a well-stocked fridge and a new recipe for shish-ke-bob that will amaze you! Bring the scrabble, grab your bathing suits…”. And yes. there isn’t often snow in Vegas but this year they did have snow and, as things go, that snow stayed in Vegas.
This all may or may not be what Gerald Henderson was thinking back in the late 60s when he began construction on his underground home, which is accessed by an elevator that takes one 25 feet underground via an old mineshaft. Above ground all one can see is a wrought iron fence and a rock garden and then one enters a small ‘house’, which (it is not exactly clear from the article) appears to be mainly an above-ground door and hallway, leading to the elevator.
Gerald Henderson was a longtime board member of Avon, and “a pioneer in the nascent Cold War-era discipline of subterranean architecture.” He was a bit paranoid, did not much like people and feared radioactive fallout. He built two other such homes in Switzerland and Colorado which are reportedly no longer standing. There is no mention of why those other two are no longer standing however, and I wonder at that why behind dismantling such an architectural feat, particularly since there are times when being underground seems such a great idea.
Anyway, according to the article, algae does not grow underground and so no chlorine is needed for the pool. The walls are murals painted to resemble Gerald’s childhood home in New Jersey as well as his sheep ranch in New Zealand. The muralist, Jewel Smith from Plainview, Texas, lived in a cottage in Continue reading