Roy E. Mason, the Washington architect known for his "mushroom" foam houses, has filed for personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code.
Mason's financial problems stem from a construction company he co-owned, Tricentennial Construction Corp.
Tricentennial went out of business five years ago because of difficulties associated with high interest rates, and Mason was saddled with the company's debts, he said in an interview.
"It has nothing to do with my architecture business," Mason said. "I should have gone into personal bankruptcy five years ago."
According to documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the District of Columbia, Mason's assets are $32,614, while his liabilities are $379,210.
His largest creditors include First American Title Co., Devlin Lumber & Supply Co. in Arlington, Herndon Lumber & Millwork, Reston Land Corp. and the law firm of Ress, Broom and Diaz.
Fourteen lawsuits, including ones filed by First American Title Co., Devlin Lumber, First Virginia Bank and Capital Mechanical Contractors, were pending against Mason at the time he filed for bankruptcy.
Six years ago, Mason, known for his imaginative sculptural forms, built a "dream house" on the approach to Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
To build the tourist attraction, Mason inflated huge balloons, covered them with metal lath and sprayed them with insulation.
Mason reportedly was dubbed "the marshmallow architect" by Paul Rudolph, his professor at Yale School of Architecture, where he received his masters in architecture.