Lost: Mid-Century Modern House in Texas

Posted on: December 3rd, 2007 by Preservation magazine

Carousel HouseTexas lost a mid-century modern house last month.

Once called the "Carousel House," the circular house in Meyerland was designed and built in 1964 by Robert Cohen, who constructed the house out of wood frames and steel.

In 1987, the elderly Cohens moved out, and the house remained empty until June 2004, when Texas lawyer John O'Quinn purchased it for his classic car collection's manager, Zev Isgur. When Isgur went to jail, the house was deserted.

Over the next two years, the house was neglected and subjected to roof leaks, vandalism, and furniture theft. For some reason, the house was never marketed publicly and in September 2007, a construction company called Granit builders purchased it with plans to build a new house in its location. The Carousel House was demolished on Nov. 20.

"The house was smashed to bits," says Ben Koush, president of HoustonMod, a nonprofit that advocates the preservation of modern architecture in Texas. "I cannot imagine how it could be salvaged at this point."

The house was destroyed despite efforts of preservationists and locals. "I think the perception of the expense of restoring it is one of the reasons it was demolished, but there's also just the fact that it was never offered for sale publicly," says Jason Smith, HoustonMod board member. "I think if we had been able to do a 'Mod of the Month’ open house, we may have been able to find a buyer."

- Jeesoo Park for Preservation Online


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