Cave House by Ralph Rapson and David B. Runnells

Another competition entry was put together by Rapson and Runnells in 1939 for a "Cave House." This foray into the earth sheltered or earth contact genre may have been 35 years ahead of its time. It wasn't until the mid-1970's that the idea of a passive solar, earth sheltered design would come into the mainstream consciousness.

The design also featured a modular, self contained service unit, holding the homes heating, water heating and bathroom functions all in one factory made unit. An improved version of this service unit idea would continue on with another Rapson-Runnells partnership called the Fabric House.
It is clear that the plan of this house was also heavily influenced by Finnish Architect, Alvar Aalto. This would be expected of students in the studio of Finnish immigrants, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, but we also know that Runnells was recently back from Scandinavia. Both Runnells and Rapson were known to be found of the work of Aalto, especially his furniture.

Special thanks to Ralph's son, Toby Rapson and Grandson, Lane Rapson of Rapson Architects for giving us permission to use these images.

For more images like these read, Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design by KCMODERN friend, Jane King Hession.