A couple’s handwritten note to renowned architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg results in an iconic Leviathan of a home in the Californian desert.

Though John Lautner is often considered one of the most famous Californian, organic modern masters of the 1960s and ’70s, it was arguably San Diego architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg who took the style to new heights. A spectacular example of his work is the 5,000-square-foot engineering marvel known as High Desert House, on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park’s alien landscape.

High Desert House is composed of 26 freestanding, concrete columns that look like rib bones.

High Desert House is composed of 26 freestanding, concrete columns that look like rib bones. 

Courtesy of Lance Gerber

As the story goes, in 1986 Kellogg received a handwritten note from artists Jay and Bev Doolittle that read: “Dear Mr. Kellogg, My wife and I recently purchased a very interesting, though unconventional, building site in the California desert.” 

Kellogg was intrigued, and upon visiting the couple and seeing their unusual, majestic 10-acre plot nestled within a cluster of massive boulders in the middle of the desert, he took on the project, and with carte blanche, designed what is probably one of the most striking organic modern residences to date. 

Each column is embedded seven feet into the bedrock of the site to ensure stability.

Each column is embedded seven feet into the bedrock of the site to ensure stability. 

Courtesy of Lance Gerber

The lower solid, concrete portion brings to mind elements of Native American adobe pueblos, while the sculptural form of the upper section conjures images of dinosaur fossils or spaceships.

The lower solid, concrete portion brings to mind elements of Native American adobe pueblos, while the sculptural form of the upper section conjures images of dinosaur fossils or spaceships.

Courtesy of Lance Gerber

See the full story on Dwell.com: High Desert House in Joshua Tree Is an Otherworldly Architectural Icon

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