• Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg.

    Posted on 8th April, by Luke Moloney in architecture. 2 Comments

    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace

    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace


    What I like about writing for Yellowtrace is that I get to spend a fair bit of time mentally arranging my furniture in houses other than my own. With this one I am stumped.

    Being frank, this house is not my cup of tea. However at this point in time I’m working on a concrete house of some complexity, and so out-of-the-box buildings like this pique my interest, and earn my respect.

    Designed by the fabulously-named Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, the house is situated in the desert town of Joshua Tree, California. The desert landscape here is one of rubble, scrub, dirty outcrops and stillness. The odd jet stream carves the sky (Los Angeles is a mere two and a half hour’s drive away), but it doesn’t take much imagination to convince oneself that you have come to the world’s end. And then you get to this house.


    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace

    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace

    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace


    I’m an architect, I design houses. I look at this building and marvel – at some point, clients walked into the office of Kendrick Bangs Kellogg and said something along the lines of ‘Mr Bangs Kellogg, we’d like a three bedroom house and a kitchen and two bathrooms and a cupboard for the vacuum cleaner’, and this is what happened next.

    It’s a leap of the imagination I can’t… well… imagine. It’s like Jabba’s sail barge crashed in the desert and got humped by an armadillo. This sort of architectural gesture which would make no sense anywhere else in the world, but here, it’s just right.

    Crazy concrete forms intersect and interlock over the living spaces, allowing daylight to pour in through roof lights in between. I won’t address the interiors here but shall rather enjoy this house as an object in the landscape, crazily and ingeniously attuned to its situation and environment. Fences and gateways look like metal versions of the bleached animal skeletons one sees littering the desert in spaghetti westerns.


    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace

    Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg | Yellowtrace


    Articulated bronze screens let you know this house belongs to the same family as other organic modernist homes in the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs is just around the corner), but this is their 1980s counterpart. Sinuous forms and sculptural masses lift this house so far beyond domestic architecture it’s not funny. Or is it?

    I’ll leave off. My opinion on this house is of little consequence, but my goodness I enjoyed having a look at the images.


    Text by Luke Moloney for Yellowtrace.


    [Images via organicmodernestate.com.]


  • 2 Responses to “Joshua Tree House by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg.”

    1. Ari says:

      I wonder if there was more talked about in that initial meeting than bedrooms, bathrooms and vacuum cleaners… Those things matter of course, but the most interesting houses come out of a broader and richer conversation between architect and client in my experience.

      And no, I probably wouldn’t design something like this myself either, but I totally respect it, the world has enough boring buildings already.

    2. 2moiselles says:

      Wow, incredible house and amazing place!!

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