11. Nicol House | Conversation pit

Date: 1965
Architect: Bruce Goff
Location: Missouri, US

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Nicol House_© pinterest.com

An octagonal plan, zigzag façade with triangular windows, a pyramidal crowning roof, and a scaly skin, make for an eccentric house in the colonial style suburbs. Crossing the threshold, the central conversation pit covered in electric green carpet dominates the house’s interior. It is lightened from above by a glass pyramid at the apex of the roof. 

In effect, the resultant living space becomes a striking three-dimensional volume from a combination of geometries.

The 1970s

12. “Pool” Modular Sofa

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Purple Modular Sofa_©weheartit.com

In the 1960s, the renowned designer Luigi Colani began designing furniture, known for his ergonomically and organic creations, the 70’s modular sofa is one of them. A cushioned enclosure system composed of different square modules for ground, borders, and corners creating a personalised design of a lowered seating landscape. A representation of the carefree lifestyle of the time. 

13. Bass Residence

Date: 1970
Architect: Paul Rudolph
Location: Texas, US 

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Bass Residence_©papercitymag.com

Sid Bass, a billionaire oilman and Anne Bass an outstanding presence in the art and cultural scene commissioned a complex spatial program that could showcase remarkable art pieces. The three-storied house technically develops into a twelve-level configuration of three-dimensional juxtaposing spaces. 

In a way, the construction of an artificial topography with diverse atmospheres, where the sunken living areas and conversation pits only assume one way – downwards – in the shifting and bountiful design. 

14. Maison Bernard

Date: 1970
Architect: Antti Lovag, Odile Decq (renovation, 2016)
Location: Théoule-sur-Mer, France

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Maison Bernard_©consciously.life

In principle, an interconnecting bubble configuration for which each room layout was thought out before building the linking structure. Thus, the self-determining spaces’ character is shaped individually through various features, including furniture. 

Parapet-like sections and enfolding elements become frameworks for the curving built-in furniture. Even though the floor level remains unaffected, the operations attain the conversation pit’s essence, intimate and sheltered areas enriched by their unique and colourful character.  

Nearly half a century later…

15. Yo! Home, 2012 London Design Festival | Conversation pit

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Bedroom and living room_©mydream.haus

Simon Woodroffe proposal of a model home for the future offered a completely mechanised space with shifting interiors. The master bedroom elevates to disclose the living room’s conversation pit while the sunken dining table folded up from the floor. 

The impressive display offered an amplified interpretation of functional interior design and an inventive solution to optimising space. 

16. White on White

Year: 2013
Architect: Gianni Botsford Architects
Location: London, UK

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Invisible conversation pit_©divisare.com

A subtle extension to a London townhouse results in a tiny room of transparent walls just like a crystal ball or, in this case, a crystal cube surrounded by visuals of the garden and the sky. 

The room was “dematerialised” through a precise implementation of materials to make it invisible from the public view. Herein, the pristine white conversation pit layout turns into an engaging study environment. 

17. Mills House

Date: 2015
Architect: Austin Maynard Architects
Location: Melbourne, Australia 

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Mills House_©plataformaarquitectura.cl

A senior executive and a new mother: she wanted a home that was simple, practical and most importantly, free of mess. The floor rises 45 centimetres to serve as storage space allowing the living area to be as ample as possible. While the base grows in height, the living room transforms into a conversation pit. 

Similarly, in the transition between interior and exterior, the floor is sliced to meet the ground level, quite like a semi-enclosed recessed porch at the front of the house. 

18. Cupertino House

Date: 2016
Architect: Craig Steely
Location: California, US

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Cupertino House_©dezeen.com

The glasshouse is elevated by two trunk-like columns and submerged into the dense tree canopy. The main areas like the office, kitchen and living room are spatially delineated in the open plan by a change in level, sunken in the concrete floor and characterised by particular materials. 

The living room draws most of the attention with its cushioned purple conversation pit, the only feature that describes this free space. 

19. The Wing

Date: 2018
Interior designer: Chiara De Rege
Location: New York, US

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The Wing, Brooklyn_©witwhimsy.com

The women-only co-working spaces’ brand decided to transform an old paper factory structure into a homely aesthetic for its new Brooklyn venue. The open-plan workspaces are decorated like living rooms with an assortment of furniture and contrasting colours. 

A deep green lounge is embedded into the floor, nicknamed the “The Pit”, an ideal space for programming and networking in the purely equitable environment. 

20. Mar Vista House | Conversation pit

Date: 2019 (renovation)
Architect: Part Office
Location: California, US

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Mar Vista ouse_©divisare.com

The conversation pit makes for a peculiar addition to the monochromatic white house. At the impossibility of raising the height of the living space comes the decision to go down and create a concave area. This “cosy crater” connects with its mid-century design roots, enables new perspectives of overlooked elements and successfully integrates into the silent scene. 

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Manuela is an architect from Bogotá, Colombia. She has a special interest in architectural theory believing architecture results from the human understanding of the world and its place in the universe. In films, books, and finding unique spaces in cities, she recognizes society's memory and essence.