Mid-century is also the nuclear era. America and the former Soviet Union escalated the nuclear test one after another from the 1950s to the 1960s.

In this era, the horror of invisible nuclear famine was in Californian sunshine.

The fear of nuclear weapons in the Cold War will reach its peak with the Cuban crisis of 1962. Stanley Kubrick’s film in 1964 “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” ironically depict the catastrophic end of nuclear arms race.

California Modern Living also produced houses responding to the era of nuclear weapons along with its advanced and amusing atomosphere.

Paul Laszlo is a celebrity architect or “Richman’s Architect” he has designed numerous homes for the millionaire by Hollywood stars and oil millionaires. Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Stanwijk, Robert Taylor, Barbara Hutton, William Wyler and other Hollywood celebrities are naming clients.

“Atom Ville USA” is a near future housing community for the nuclear era proposed by Paul Laszlo in 1950 (an article of magazine POPULAR MECHANICS published on the site MidCentury Architecture).

California modern living nuclear shelter

(From Paul László 1950)

Housing is set under the artificial ground which draws a large curve, and personal helipad is built above ground. It has an elegant living place with light from the large lightwell. And it is equipped with the latest facilities and pool.

At the time, Pat Boone, Groucho Marx, Dyna Shore, etc. were building elaborate nuclear sciences. (“California Design 1930-1965 – Origins of Modern Living” 2013)

Paul Laszlo also proposes a nuclear shelter, However the most unique nuclear shelter is the large mansion built by Hal Hayes at Hollywood Hill (posted on the site called MODERN MECHANIX Article of magazine POPULAR MECHANICS).

Halle Hayes is a billionaire who made his fortune with the construction industry and was a single playboy among Hollywood actresses.

California modern living nuclear shelter hal hayes

(From POPULAR MECHANICS August 1953)

Hull created a six-tier large mansion. It is as a rugged construction that can withstand the impact of a nuclear bomb and equipped with luxurious underground nuclear shelter and a swimming pool. There is large sofa and a comfortable lounge chair. Art is on the wall and at the sametime an oxygen bottle is also ready for action. Men and women in bathing suit seems to be relaxing at the resort house. It seems that Haru Hayes believed that the nuclear radioactivity can be removed by the pool water.

The paranoiaak housing is the unique product of age of nuclear weapons. The fear of nuclear war and strange brightness have somehow united. It embodies a kind of excessness of California modern living.

And this product has become the image source of the secret base in Tracy island, which captivated by boys all over the world.

Specter’s of 007 or Thunder Bird’s secret base must have been secondary product of the era and its spirit.

(Underline link destination)

* Article of Magazine POPULAR MECHANICS posted on the site called MidCentury Architecture:


* Article of Magazine POPULAR MECHANICS published on MODERN MECHANIX site:

http: //blog.modernmechanix.com/house-for-the-atomic-age/


text by Tetsuya Omura