The Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia is for sale. That’s right, the Vanna Venturi House. Robert Venturi’s 3 bed, 2 bath, 1,986-square-foot work of seminal Postmodern architecture can be yours for only $1,750,000. Located in a quiet Philadelphia neighborhood, the house is for sale for the first time in 43 years. The house was built in 1965 and is best known as “Mother’s House,” Robert Venturi’s manifesto that exemplified many of his concepts outlined in Complexity and Contradiction. Many consider it the first self-consciously Postmodern building in the world. The subtle changes in composition and the juxtaposition of classical forms and contemporary language are classic, playful Venturi. Take a look around the interior in AN's tour of the house from 2011. Inside, original Carerra marble floors remain in the entryway, while an oversized fireplace warms the living room, which also features built-in bookcases and a Venturian chair rail. Skylights and shifting volumes give the rooms plenty of light and shadow. The house is located in Chestnut Hill and has been featured on a 2005 postage stamp. The house is also in the school district of Jenks Elementary, which is an ironic and double-coded bonus.
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Philip Johnson’s only Dallas residential design, The Beck House (1964), has hit the market with a $27.5 million asking price. Current owners Naomi Aberly and Larry Lebowitz—who famously hosted President Barack H. Obama twice within the home’s white walls at fundraising events—recently spent seven years conducting a detailed modernization and renovation of the modernist palace, as well as a re-landscaping of the 6.45-acre park that surrounds it. Dallas firm Bodron + Fruit touched up the architecture, including adding a pavilion beside the new pool, while Massachusetts-based Reed Hilderbrand worked on the grounds.
Today, AN reported on Detroit's lone house designed by architect Paul Rudolph called the Parcells House. According to our article, "The waterfront home faces Lake Saint Clair and was designed to give waterfront views to almost every room. As the home sits on a lot at the end of a cul-de-sac where heavy plantings and trees cover the driveway and maintain privacy, it is, for the most part, only viewable by boat." Check out a slideshow of the inside and outside of the house below and be sure to learn more about the property, currently on the market, over here.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s first independent commission, the William Winslow House, is on the market. For $2.4 million, you can net this 5,000-square-foot home in River Forest, Illinois—a critical link in the development of Prairie Style, where Wright's horizontality and dynamic interior spaces began to take shape. The home at 515 Auvergne Place is made of roman brick, white stone and plaster, and features the architect's signature deep overhangs and stout, planar forms. A wide foyer, fireplace and built-in benches in the dining room are among its signature interior elements. Fans of the prairie style progenitor took note in October when the realtors announced their intention to sell the historic building. The family of the home's fifth and longest owners, Bill and June Walker, decided to sell shortly after June Walker died in April. Bill Walker died in 1994. It’s the first time the property has been listed since 1955. It has not been available to the public since it was included in a 1979 home walk. The William Winslow House sports Wright’s distinctive horizontal plan, but ornamented masonry and several large arches are among the elements that bear the influence of Wright’s predecessors, like Louis Sullivan. Its symmetrical approach is also somewhat atypical of the work Wright came to be known for. Winslow, publisher of House Beautiful, was Wright's first client when the architect began his own practice at age 26 in 1893. The home was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
If any admirers of deconstructivism are in the market to buy a house, they will be curious to learn that Peter Eisenman’s iconic structure, House VI, will be up for sale in late May or early June. Owners Suzanne and Richard Frank commissioned Eisenman—a member of the New York Five—to design and build a house on their 6-acre property in Cornwall, Connecticut. Suzanne Frank had previously worked as a researcher and librarian for Eisenman’s Institute for Architecture & Urban Studies. The house, completed in 1975, is an unconventional play on a grid and intended to be a “record of the design process.” The house stands out for its unusual, and often non-functional, features such as an upside down staircase and a column that separates diners at a dinner table. The upkeep hasn’t been easy for the Franks—the house, while an ambitious conceptual undertaking, has required substantial repairs over the years. The Franks discussed their experience with house in a book entitled Peter Eisenman's House VI: The Client's Response.
The Paul Rudolph townhouse at 23 Beekman Place hit the market in early December, listed at $27.5 million. The property consists of four separate apartments, including the four-level penthouse that Rudolph himself lived in, along with his pet rabbits. But buyer beware: the penthouse, which was renovated in 2006 by Della Valle and Bernheimer, retains many signature Rudolph elements, like the death-defying stairways with no rails. Potential buyers should also consider getting "some new sprinklers and a back-up security system installed," as Chas Tenembaum, one fictional former tenant of The Royal Tenenbaums fame, noted after failing to escape the house in adequate time after a fire drill. "Four minutes and forty-eight seconds. We're all dead. Burned to a crisp."
The story goes like this: In 1949 an engineer named A.K. Chahroudi commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a home on Petra Island in Lake Mahopac, New York, which Chahroudi owned. But the $50,000 price tag on the 5,000 square foot house was more than Chahroudi could afford, so Wright designed him a smaller, more affordable cottage elsewhere on the island. Fast forward to 1996 when Joseph Massaro, a sheet metal contractor, bought the island for $700,000, a sale that also included Wright's original yet unfinished plans. Though he says he only intended to spruce up the existing cottage and not build anything new, one can hardly fault Massaro for wanting to follow through on a home Wright once said would eclipse Falling Water. In 2000 Massaro sold his business and hired Thomas A. Heinz, an architect and Wright historian, to complete and update the design, a move that incensed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, who promptly sued him, stating he couldn't claim the house was a true Wright, but was only "inspired" by him. Massaro was able to complete the house in 2004, fending off lawsuits by stating his intent not to sell. Now, however, he's ruffled the Wright Foundation's feathers once again by putting the house on the market for $19.9 million, 11-acre island included. Even though the house is not recognized by the Foundation, that hasn't stopped Massaro from listing it as a true Wright. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times he said, “You hear these purists that talk about how no unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright house should ever be built because Frank Lloyd Wright isn’t here anymore. And then you take a look at this masterpiece of his—I’m sure Frank would rather have it built than not built at all." That may be true, but those purists are an outspoken bunch, citing four details in Massaro's house that Wright would never have approved of had he been alive to see its construction. First, the decorative "rubblestone," a Wright trademark, is not flush in Massaro's home, but protrude from the wall—a major Wright no-no. Second, the home's 26 skylights are domed, not flat, a choice Massaro apparently made citing flat skylights' propensity to leak (sealants, anyone?). Third, an exterior stairway that appears in several of Wright's original drawings was nixed by Massaro, as it would have landed in three feet of water due to the island's changed coastline. Lastly, Wrightians claim that the copper fascia are too shallow, a seemingly petty point of contention, but as Wright house owner Rich Herber pointed out, "It's the small details we'll never know about." To be fair, Massaro seems to have tried to stay as true to Wright's original intentions as possible. When the late Walter Cronkite, who knew Wright personally, visited the property he said, "I feel Frank in this house." Whether or not it's technically authentic and officially condoned by the Foundation, or the result of a Wright/Heinz collaboration, the world is probably a better and more beautiful place for the existence of the Massaro House, which interested buyers can arrange to visit to through Ahahlife.com. All images courtesy Ahahlife.
A sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece could be yours for a cool three mil. Curbed Chicago digs up the listing for Chi-town's Coonley House in the historic Riverside neighborhood. The original clients apparently buttered up Wright, who, flattered, gave the house extra attention to detail. With five bedrooms and five baths spread out over 6,000 square feet, the prairie-style Coonley House is a far cry from Wright's Usonian houses. The grounds are lavishly landscaped and include lilly-padded-pond overlooked by original leaded-glass windows. The Coonley House, 1908-1912, has been lovingly restored including a 50-foot mural in the living room and the original Jens Jensen landscape. Call this Frank Lloyd Wright classic home for just $2.89 million.
Is it a good sign or a bad one for real estate that all these spiffy homes are for sale? And what does it say about high-end, name-checking architecture? Most recently, we noted a notable Eric Owen Moss home up for sale, and now our good friend and frequent contributor Alexandra Lange notified us (how else—via Twitter) that the stunning YN-13 House designed by Morris-Sato Studio, which she highlighted in her summer homes feature last year, is now up for sale. At the time, she wrote, "the one thing the YN-13 House is not is a cookie-cutter, shingles-on-steroids McMansion." Corcoran, in its listing for the Shelter Island stead, puts it this way: "Inspired by the historic homes of Kyoto, Japan, this unique architecturally designed residence combines artful living with uncommon functionality. The clean lines and meticulous detailing and construction throughout infuse the light filled spacious home with remarkable serenity and grace." They're currently asking $4.195 million.
Philip Johnson's first commissioned work, a house for the Booth family built in 1946, can now be yours for the forgiving price of $2 million. It's not exactly Johnson's first building ever—that distinction goes to his Harvard thesis project, completed two years prior—nor is it exactly his best—according to one first hand report, it's basically a Glass House with cinder block walls. Still, that's about par in price for the area according to Coldwell Banker, and how many other of those homes can boast such history? Just so long as it's not bought for the land and torn down like so many other modernist homes north of the city that have been lost in recent years.