World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Conversation pit

Article Id: WHEBN0034399230
Reproduction Date:

Title: Conversation pit  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Room, Equipment room, Great chamber, Saucery, Spicery
Collection: Architectural Elements, Rooms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Conversation pit

Saarinen's restored conversation pit at the TWA Flight Center

A conversation pit is an architectural feature that incorporates built-in seating into a depressed section of flooring within a larger room. This area often has a table in the center as well. The seats typically face each other in a centrally focused fashion, bringing the occupants closer together than free-standing tables and chairs normally would. In residential design this proximity facilitates comfortable human conversation, dinner parties, and table top games. Their disadvantages include accidental falls and uncomfortable interactions with those standing above in the main room.[1][2]


The conversation pit was popular from the 1950s to the 1970s, seen across Europe as well as North America.[3] Modernist architects Eero Saarinen and Alexander Girard used a conversation pit as the centerpiece of the influential Miller House (1958) in Columbus, Indiana, one of the earliest widely publicized applications of the concept.[4][5] A brilliant red conversation pit (since covered, but recently restored) was later incorporated by Saarinen into the 1962 TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.[6] Other influential residential projects include the 1955 Cohen House in Sarasota, Florida by architect Paul Rudolph, for whom the conversation pit became a signature element,[7] and many of Bruce Goff's houses[2] beginning in the 1920s, including the Adah Robinson house in Tulsa, Oklahoma[8] and the 1965 Nicol House in Kansas City, Missouri.[9]

Many conversation pits have been filled in during renovation to create a uniform floor level.[1] The conversation-pit concept influenced the popularity of the somewhat less radical sunken living room,[2] most familiar from the Dick Van Dyke Show on TV.[2] In the late 1990s conversation pits and sunken living rooms were offered in home plans as a way of creating an informal space within a large space.[10]

See also

  • Inglenook, an intimate space that incorporates a fireplace


  1. ^ a b "Design: Fall of the Pit". Time. February 22, 1963. 
  2. ^ a b c d Germany, Lisa (March 1983). "Architects in Wonderland". Texas Monthly. 
  3. ^ "Conversation Pits and Cul-de-sacs: Dutch Architecture in the 1970s". 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Roman, Antono (2003). Eero Saarinen: An Architecture of Multiplicity. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 71.  
  5. ^ Stephens, Suzanne (February 2011). "Miller House and Garden". Architectural Record. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Smith, G.E. Kidder (1996). Source Book of American Architecture: 500 Notable Buildings from the 10th Century to the Present. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 446.  
  7. ^ Treadwell, Sally (November–December 2007). Old House Interiors: 16. 
  8. ^ "Adah Robinson Residence". Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Gabriel, J. Francois (1997). Beyond the Cube: The Architecture of Space Frames and Polyhedra. John Wiley & Sons. p. 52.  
  10. ^ Daspin, Eileen (August 1, 1999). "Conversation Pit is Groovy Again". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.