Gundersen Residence

Martin Gundersen

  • Built

A home designed by an architect for themselves, may at times be limited by budget but it is rarely limited by imagination. Often it is self-portrait. The house Martin Gundersen, Sr. designed on Fairfax Avenue was no exception.

Harry and Martin Gundersen, Jr. remember the mid-century house designed by their father:

Living in a house specifically designed for cross ventilation seemed normal to us, of course we didn't know there was such a thing as air conditioning. What is now a glass-enclosed space was originally a screened porch with glass sliding doors separating it from the interior. The doors remained open at least 9 months of the year - when we were "living" on the porch.

Architecturally, the board and batten siding along with full height casement windows allowed for "panels" of materials in elevation as opposed to punched openings for windows. The barrier between exterior and interior (especially at the entry) was blurred by carrying the floor, wall and ceiling materials from outside to inside and, by designing a fully glazed entry which extends floor to ceiling and wall to wall.

A local supplier was able to provide custom color, texture and dimensions for the concrete block used throughout the house.

He chose to raise the house and frame the floor with wood. This decision positively changed the relationship of the house with the ground, allowing for a standard wood floor installation and future access to under-floor utilities.

Clearly the design of the house was influenced by his Scandinavian background with wood and wood-working, the powerful influence of European modernism that was prevalent throughout Florida, and his interest in architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Eero Saarinen.

AIA Florida Southwest Southwest Florida Museum of History Herman Miller