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Los Angeles, California

Chemosphere

This ultra-modern home clings to the slope of the Hollywood Hills on a precarious stilt. 

To some, the Chemosphere is a well known Los Angeles landmark thanks to its appearances in film and television, but many are unaware that the UFO-shaped abode comes from much humbler beginnings.

The precariously saucer home was constructed when an aerospace engineer Leonard Malin was gifted the sloped plot of land from his father-in-law. Despite his meager engineer’s income, Malin was determined to build on the property. To this end, he wooed sponsors to help him build an innovative stilted design that would allow the home to jut out from the hillside, supported by a thick stilt. Technically the home was known as the Malin House, but one of these sponsors was a chemical manufacturer whose resins and polymers were used in building the home, hence its nickname, “Chemosphere.”

After Malin moved from the home, it was used for parties, events, and a number of film shoots appearing in such films as Charlie’s Angels and Body Double securing a place in the popular conscienceless. In recent years, the home was refurbished, looking the worse for wear after years of parties, and is now owned and maintained by Benedikt Taschen, owner of the publishing house which shares his name. Despite the private ownership, the Chemosphere still manages to maintain a reputation for wild parties that are literally on the edge.