House Porn: Bob Hope’s Palm Springs Contemporary Spaceship by John Lautner.

In 1973, the legendary comedian Bob Hope and his wife Delores commissioned the iconic architect John Lautner to design a residence for them in Palm Springs. The house has become as legendary as its owners and architect due to its unusual design. 

The most distinctive feature of the Hope estate is its massive and dramatically undulating copper sheathed roof which appears to look much like a tortoise.

Some have said that it resembles a doughnut on acid, a flying saucer, or the Eero Saaranen-designed TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport in New York.

The house is somewhere around 20,000 square feet of concrete, steel and glass. Legend has it that the Hope’s liked their neighbor Arthur Elrod’s house so much they built a larger version (the Elrod house by Lautner is also a landmark).

Palm Springs has a long history as a Hollywood movie colony—stretching from the 1920’s through the 70’s. Celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, Dinah Shore, and Frank Sinatra; along with presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan have lived there. Such legends brought with them some of the great architects such as Albert Frey , A. Quincy Jones, Richard Neutra and John Lautner.

Bob Hope first came to Palm Springs in 1937, buying his first house in 1941. Hope was named honorary mayor of Palm Springs in the 1950s and again in the 80s. He died in 2003 at the age of 100. His wife Delores passed away in 2011 at the age of 102.

And now with the Hope’s gone, the house is rumored to be on the market—for $45 million—an appropriate price for a legend.

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