Sep 22, 2011

The Miller House

During my stay in Lexington last week, I was floored to see the Miller House in person on a sunny morning. 

This amazing modern residential structure was designed and built by Le Corbusier protégé José Oubrerie, who was was dean of the University of Kentucky School of Architecture when he designed the Miller House in 1988 for his clients Robert and Penny Miller.  After Mr. Miller passed away, Penny sold the house and its surrounding 20 acres in 2006.

The facades of the Miller House are composed of a thin, cast-in-place concrete screen that wraps around several painted-wood inner structures: One surface is a simple grid of interlocking slabs; another has small vertical and horizontal slits. Inside, the house features an irregular composition of three two-floor living spaces—each with its own bedroom, bath, office, and independent entrance. Built-in cabinetry echoes the facades’ interlocking forms.  The Miller has been described as one of the finest residences of the 20th century.

In 2007, after sitting empty and dormant, intruders entered the vacant property several times painting graffiti, breaking windows, and knocking in much of the interior plaster work.  Oubrerie was heartbroken to visit the home and see the $300,000+ in damages.  What in the hell is wrong with people???

Thankfully, later that year, the Miller House was purchased by the Foundation for Advanced Architecture, whose first mission was the restoration of the Miller House and create an educational laboratory for students of architecture. 

But it appears as thought the Foundation lost their way, as the house is currently for sale again.  When I visited last week, the property was in pristine 'showing' condition, with brochures and maps seen in the front hall.  I would have called for a viewing to see the interior and explore more of this unique space, but why waste anyone's time, I'm not buying it.  And, besides, we can just watch Neon Indian's video to get a groovy perspective on this modern behemoth.



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