Is the Flinstone House a 'Public Nuisance'?
19. March 2019
The Flinstone House in Hillsborough, California, with the Doran Memorial Bridge in the distance (Photo via flintstonehouse280.com)
A house south of San Francisco designed by architect William Nicholson in 1976, known as the Flinstone House, has entered the news recently after its owner installed giant dinosaurs and a Fred Flinstone sculpture in the yard.
The story, reported by The Mercury News and then picked up by The New York Times, indicates that the numerous "improvements" by Florence Fang, who bought the property two years ago, led town officials to ask a judge "to enforce the order for Fang to remove the antediluvian animals, officially declare the property a public nuisance, reimburse the town for the suit, and award any 'further relief as the court deems just and proper.'"
Fang's renovations consist of the dinosaurs and other sculptures but also "a retaining wall, steps, columns, gates, a parking strip and a deck," per the Mercury News, not to mention a "Yabba Dabba Do" sign. Fang's work in the last couple years plays upon the house's moniker, which was born from the form of the house, its original orange color, and its visibility from the northbound lanes of the Doran Memorial Bridge heading to San Francisco.
Fang's additions are unfortunate, not because they potentially devalue the surrounding properties or create a "public nuisance," but because they focus on an incidental pop-culture reference rather than the qualities of Nicholson's design. Idiosyncratic to say the least, the house nevertheless has some interesting qualities, such as its shotcrete construction (balloons were used as formwork!), cellular Dogon-esque plan, domed skylights, and varied roofline.
Whatever the judge decides, the house, which its neighbors have lived with for decades, would be just as eye-catching without Fang's dinosaurs and other yard-scapes.