Rotating House by François Massau is 50 Years Old

massau rotating house photo

50 years ago François Massau built this rotating house so that his sickly wife could enjoy sunshine and warmth any time of the year. Massau was an eccentric builder who does not appear to have been very nice, and spent his last years fighting in court, dying alone and penniless at 97 in 2002. But John Tagliabue in the New York Times describes the 1400 square foot energy-efficient house:

" In a posh neighborhood on a rise above Wavre, [Belgium] stands Massau's first revolving house. Its circular brick-and-cement foundation is stationary, supporting a steel track on which the house revolves, moved by a small electric motor. Its roof, a concrete slab supported by columns, is stationary, too.

"It's the most beautiful house in Wavre," said Dominique Quinet, a beautician who lives in the house and also has her business there. When her daughter was a toddler, she said, she often played in the sandbox outside the house.

"If I worked in the kitchen," Quinet said, "I simply moved the kitchen to where the sandbox was, so I could keep an eye on her."

massau rotating house interior

Dominique Quinet inside the rotating house; photo credit Jock Fistick

She pressed one of two green buttons on the living room wall, and the house moved imperceptibly but for a slight creaking noise. She pressed a third, red button to stop it. The house moves slowly, making a full 360 degree turn in 90 minutes. "If it's warm, I can move the living room into the shade," Quinet said.

An ingenious part of the house is the tangle of plastic pipe and electrical switches in the cellar that assures a steady supply of water and electricity and removal of sewage wastes even while the house is turning. Despite its four bedrooms, kitchen and large, crescent-shaped living and dining room, the 130-square-meter, or 1,400-square-foot, house is energy-efficient. On sunny winter days, when snow lies outside, it can be warm and comfortable inside without heating, Quinet said, if the house is turned to the sun. ::New York Times
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