Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do You Remember...? The "Spider" House...

How many times did you drive by this house located on the corner of 68th street and Belinder in Mission Hills, KS. Lovingly or not, the house was called the Spider House, the Grasshopper House and perhaps many other names. Located in a mid-century modern "row" of houses on Belinder, and with land values exceeding some house/improvement values, it was sold and demolished a few years ago. I couldn't locate my old photos, never got inside and have no idea who the architect was (I'm sure somebody out there knows) The new home is modern, energy efficient and very nice.
I get nostalgic and appreciative of the original owners desire to build a house of stone and redwood, a novel and exuberant, passive solar design against convention. Definitely a novelty
then..."turn left at the Spider house" could have been a Landmark example of MCM in the community... Note the butterfly roof...the "outriggers" or "legs" of support beams have been removed.
A few days later, I drove by and found the house gone.

As our friend Dr. Jacob Wagner, Professor at UMKC, would say: " from a historical perspective, we'll never know whether it was important unless the demolition process includes surveys and studies to determine if what is being torn down is important. But from a green standpoint it is a symptom of a larger "fabric" issue within a community." KC Modern passionately believes the "Recent Past" and especially mid-century modern design is the most "at risk" architecture today. The Marcel Breuer house just down the street is "at risk" because of real estate market trends. We often take for granted the things we see everyday.

There are still a few great mid-century modern houses on Belinder. We will feature them in the future. Below is a side shot of the Breuer house.


Angela Candela said...

My husband, Michael Morley, can tell you all you ant to know about this house where he grew up. It was designed by his father, John C. Morley, architect and KU professor. You can contact Michael at

Angela Candela said...

Oops, I retract the above statement. I thought at first that the phot was of the Jack MOrley house, but it is not. Michael may know about this house, though.