In 1957, architect Eero Saarinen completed his design for the Mid-Century Modern Miller House. Commissioned by the industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia, the house featured an exciting new interior design feature: A sunken conversation pit.
Meant to be a gathering space where hosts and guests could drink, converse and make merry, it added a nice touch of inflexibility: One could not move the couches to an alternate position of one's choosing within the house, but could only sit where the architect decided one should sit.
There were other benefits, of course. As you can see here, the design makes it more challenging for the maid to lug the Electrolux down there to vacuum up all of your cigarette ashes.
During the same era, architect Ulrich Franzen designed the Beattie Residence, which also featured a conversation pit, seen below.
In the years since, numerous architects have incorporated conversation pits, each adding their own dash of something special. Let's look at a few!
The one we've seen that most addresses social needs is this one, below. We all know the awkward situation of guests who linger too long, ignoring your hints of "Boy, I've gotta get up early tomorrow for that major surgery" combined with histrionic yawning. This configuration solves that issue.
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Laughed out loud more than once while reading this article. Well said!
I'm with you AJ! Love the pits and love the captions. Want to design one into my next house. Would love to see a kids' convo/play pit, which would also help corral the toys.
I'm laughing so hard at your captions that I'm crying a little bit. Thank you.