Hangover House

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Hangover House (also known as the Halliburton House) was designed and built by William Alexander for his friend the travel writer Richard Halliburton.[1] Constructed in 1938 on a Laguna Beach, California, hilltop, the house, boasting commanding views of the Pacific Ocean, was built with three bedrooms, one each for Halliburton, Alexander, and Halliburton's lover Paul Mooney, who was also Halliburton's editor and ghostwriter.[2]

Alexander drew upon European modern architecture and created flat-roofed boxes of concrete and glass. He hoped to create a house that, like the international modern spirit of Halliburton, soared above the clouds. Mies van der Rohe's work and his experimental concrete buildings of the 1920s, along with Le Corbusier's L'Esprit Nouveau Pavilion (1924–25) and his famous Villa Savoye (1928–29), influenced Alexander.[3] Concrete and steel were the main materials used in its construction. Glass blocks formed part of the wall along the gallery that looked into a canyon several hundred feet below. A huge bastionlike retaining wall outside the main building made the house appear safe from intrusion and Olympian in its detachment.[citation needed]

Alexander befriended Ayn Rand and provided quotes for her book The Fountainhead (1943). Rand's descriptions of the Heller House, and other houses designed by the book's hero Howard Roark, were believed, by Alexander, to be thinly disguised references to Hangover House.[3]

The nickname "Hangover House" is a pun on both the building's location overlooking the cliffs, and the alcohol consumed there.[citation needed]

Halliburton was lost at sea in 1939. In 1942, the house was purchased for $9,000 by Gen. Wallace Thompson Scott. Located at 31172 Ceanothus Drive, the house was sold in 2011 for $3.2 million, about a year after the death of the longtime owner, Zolite Scott, Wallace's daughter. As of April 2012, construction was underway to rehabilitate the building after much neglect had resulted in severe structural deterioration; although work was held up by preservationist disputes.[4]


  1. ^ Denzer, Anthony (Fall 2009). "The Halliburton House and its Architect, William Alexander". Southern California Quarterly. 91 (3): 319–341. JSTOR 41172482.
  2. ^ Max, Gerry. Horizon Chasers: The Lives and Adventures of Richard Halliburton and Paul Mooney. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., April 2007
  3. ^ a b Ted Wells, Hangover House: An Obscure Modern Masterpiece, Living : Simple, March 7, 2007.
  4. ^ "Work resumes on historic Hangover House". 26 April 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Austen, Roger. Playing the Game: The Homosexual Novel in America. Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1977