Bubble Houses (Litchfield Park, Arizona)

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Bubble Houses
General information
Town or city Litchfield Park, Arizona
Country United States
Construction started 1942
Completed 1944
Client Paul Litchfield
Technical details
Structural system Monolithic dome
Size base square footage
Design and construction
Architect Wallace Neff; builder Case Construction Co., San Pedro, California

The Bubble Houses, also known as the Goodyear Balloon Houses, were four (three single and one double) bubble or airform houses designed by Wallace Neff and built at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona during the 1940s. They were demolished during the 1980s.


Located in a row "on the fairway of the first hole of the Wigwam's golf course"[1] at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona,[2] a community developed by Goodyear.[3] and built between 1942 and 1944 by Case Construction Company of San Pedro, California, the Bubble Houses were designed by architect Wallace Neff using his patented airform Monolithic dome system, consisting of reinforced concrete cast in place over an inflatable balloon made by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Once the outer shell of concrete and insulation had hardened, the balloon was removed.[4] The Double Bubble House consisted of two single units joined by a conventional single-story structure. Each Bubble House contained two bedrooms and one bath, a kitchen, living room, pantry with refrigerator, and patio.[2]

All four houses, intended as "alternative wartime housing",[5] were similar to the twelve Neff-designed bubble houses, ten doubles and two singles, previously built by Case in Falls Church, Virginia. The houses were the subject of a 1944 Architectural Record article[6]

Described as "ideal accommodation for golfers", rates for staying in the Bubble Houses were set at US$42 per night, for two people, during the 1958-1959 season.[2] The houses were in use as rentals or employee-housing until the 1970s. In the 1980s Goodyear sold the Wigwam project and the new owners demolished all four bubble houses.[1][7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Head 2011, pp. 34-51
  2. ^ a b c Burton 2007, p. 40.
  3. ^ Belloli 1989, p. 85.
  4. ^ "Blown-Up House". Popular Mechanics (Chicago: Popular Mechanics Company) 83 (4): 48. April 1945. 
  5. ^ Vanesian, Kathleen (May 13, 2004). "Urban Cowpie: SMoCA's "PHX/LA" show really stinks". Phoenix New Times. Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Airform House for a Desert Colony, Architectural Record, July 1944, pp. 81-83.
  7. ^ Roberts, Lindsey M. (February 17, 2012). "Book Review: 'The Bubble Houses of Wallace Neff'". Architect Magazine. Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Architects. Retrieved 2012-04-04. 


  • Belloli, Andrea, ed. (1989). Wallace Neff, 1895-1982: The Romance of Regional Architecture. San Marino, California: Huntington Library Press. ISBN 978-0-87328-128-7. 
  • Burton, Lance W. (2007). The Wigwam Resort. Images of America. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-4825-8. 
  • Head, Jeffrey (2011). No Nails, No Lumber: The Bubble Houses of Wallace Neff (1st ed.). New York: Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 9-781-61689-024-7. 

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