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Icon: North by Northwest House

One of the best known houses in the history of Modernism is not a house at all, but an elaborate movie set. Created entirely at MGM studios in Culver City, California for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film, North by Northwest. In 1958, when the movie was in production, Frank Lloyd Wright was the most famous Modernist architect in the world. His magnum opus, Fallingwater, was conceivably the most famous house anywhere. His renown in the Fifties was such that mass-market magazines like House Beautiful and House & Garden devoted entire issues to his work. Hitchcock instructed the set designers at MGM to design a house in the Wright style, by its creation, the image of the Vandamm House became an icon of Modernism in architecture.

Vandamm House, by MGM set Designers (Robert Boyle, William A. Horning, Merrill Pye, Henry Grace, and Frank McKelvey), for North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Read more: Jet Set Modern

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Dart Chair by Hannes Wettstein
Chill at Bauer Stockholm


9 Responses to
“Icon: North by Northwest House”

  1. Dick Formo Says:


  2. Dieter Veihn Says:

    Beautiful house even if it never existed. Thank you for the images. The inside fireplace style is similar to many of the modern-style homes in Terra Linda (district of San Rafael in Marin County, CA). That neighborhood has what some might consider “ugly” homes. In fact, how they blend and compliment the natural beauty of the hillside environment makes them surprising beautiful. That is obe of the sucessful aspects if modernist aretecture “done right.” I think where modernism runs into difficulty is urban architecture. Without nature as its compiment, it is a challenge; it takes great artistic skill to prevent the potentially overpowering starkness of rhe modernist line and structure.

  3. Mr Phill Wall Says:

    Surprised no one ever built it …

  4. JAN Says:

    Just watching North by northwest and love it. Also can’t believe it’s never been built.

  5. India Bayton Says:

    I just watched the movie fir the 200th time (lol), it’s obviously one of my favorite Hitchcock films. And as an architecture student years ago, my class visited Falling Water in Bear Run, PA. It’s still the most breathtaking home I’ve ever been in. It’s nestled in woods of pine and magnolias, and constructed over a stream of water, which by the way can be heard peacefully from every room in the house! Just awesome! The Vandamm House definitely has many of the appointments of Falling Water’s design of having nature all around & bringing it into the home! Love then both.

  6. malik Says:


  7. Bobbg Says:

    I wonder what it would cost to build a home today 2017-2018 with the cost of homes today to replicate this and be fully Eco friendly as well as a low carbon or no carbon footprint. Energy effecent home with high quality materials built to last 100′s of years. Earthquake flood and wind and hail proof for amy season. It can be done. But would you call it a modern home or something new? After all Frank Loud Wright built homes to last high quality and built to last with materials in his day and age. Many of them still stand today.

  8. Dale Arnold Says:

    There a way that I could obtain Souvenir plans for the van Damme North by Northwest house? I would like to put them on my wall.

  9. Dale Arnold Says:

    Looking forward to an answer to my question. What a wonderful movie north by northwest

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