Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Masterful Maverick
American architect, Kendrick Bangs Kellogg is an innovator of organic architecture, growing up in Mission Beach where it is said he designed and built his first structure, a fort or clubhouse in the backyard of his family home. He is influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, believing that structures should “harmonize with its site and surroundings” and he became a champion of the “organic architecture” movement. Kellogg has designed, engineered and built a wide variety of distinctive buildings. Homes include The Lotus House, Wingsweep, The High Desert house and The Onion House, in addition to such public buildings as the Hoshino Wedding Chapel in Japan and The Charthouse Restaurants. His work has been described as “The Sydney Opera House meets Stonehenge.”
The High Desert House | Perched on the slope of a rocky hill not far from the Joshua Tree National Park, lives the High Desert House, originally constructed for artist Bev Doolittle and her husband. Fascinated by Kellogg’s unique organic style, and aesthetically fearless, the couple gave Mr. Kellogg carte-blanche to create the structure. Construction on the magnificent home began in 1988 and was completed 5 years later. The structure is formed by 26 concrete columns sunk deep into the bedrock below. Kellogg describes his goal for the project, “The idea was that the house would be settled in the landscape like it was crouching on the rocks, maybe like an animal asleep.” Photograph by Lance Gerber.
Longtime collaborator John Vugrin, was enviably tasked with creating the interior design for the High Desert House. From door handles, light switches, fences and chairs, he spent almost the next two decades crafting each and every detail of the sweeping interior space. Photograph by Lance Gerber.
One of the four viewing decks at Kellogg’s Lotus House in La Jolla, CA originally designed for renowned reproductive endocrinologist Samuel Yen. Perched on a slightly less than one-acre canyon rim lot, the house, built-in 1978, is famed for its formed concrete construction, undulated wood roof trusses, Gaudí-like geometric bathroom tile and three-story glass staircase. Sited with consideration for natural beauty and tranquility, the stunning home has panoramic ocean and canyon views and celebrates seamless indoor-outdoor flow.
One of Kellogg’s commercial projects for surfer turned restauranteur Alfred “Buzzy” Bent, The Chart House Restaurant, in Rancho Mirage, CA built in 1978, sadly was lost to a fire in 2012. Unfolding like a giant sea creature with its undulating roofline, the exterior protective desert shell stretched down, like the fabric of an umbrella or shell of a crab, almost touching the exterior landscape below, offering protection for the harsh desert heat.
The Onion House near Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, was created for the McCormick Spice family. This spectacular private retreat built-in 1962-63 boasts arched roof panels, that when lit at night have the translucency of an onion. Elizabeth McCormick von Beck, the niece of the founder of the McCormick spic Company commissioned Kellogg to design the home, however, she was unable to find a contractor willing to take on the project. Ultimately, Kellogg moved to Kona, Hawaii to construct the home himself. This structure is considered Kellogg’s “breakaway house” where he moved away from the horizontal planes characterized by much of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, one of the architects’ biggest influences. Everyone can experience what it is truly like to live in a house designed by architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg as The Onion House is available for guests to rent as a vacation property visit onionhousehawaii.com for more information.
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