Described as “livable art” by listing agent Graham Klemm, the only private residence in the States designed by Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei has just hit the market for $5.25 million. Located on a sprawling property about two hours away from New York City in bucolic Ancram, the home was built in 2006 as a weekend retreat for Christopher Tsai, one of the artist’s biggest collectors. Weiwei collaborated with Swiss-based HHF Architects on the streamlined residence, designed to highlight the art it would house as well as the surrounding landscape. The current owners—who are also art collectors—bought the property in 2013 for $4.25 million.
Inspired by the sheds that are so common in the area, the house is comprised of four connected modules clad with corrugated metal on the exterior and soft gypsum wood panels on the interior. Along with the 3,500 square foot main house—which includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms—there’s a unique Y-shaped guest house featuring a contrasting timber structure clad in corrugated corten steel, which takes on a rusted patina over time. Each of the home’s three wings serves a specific purpose: living quarters, studio, and art gallery. A minimalist aesthetic prevails inside both homes, where thoughtfully framed views bring the outdoors in and furnishings are kept minimal to keep the emphasis on art.
The 37-acre gated property faces west and feels very private. It includes a beautifully-sited pool perfect for taking in views of the pastoral landscape.
Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist, activist, blogger, poet, film-maker & provocateur and a longtime critic of the Chinese government. In 2011, he was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport and jailed for 81 days without charge but under suspicion of committing a series of economic crimes. He was allowed to leave China in 2015, and now resides in Berlin with his family. In terms of arhitecture, he’s best known for “The Bird’s Nest,” a collaboration with architects Herzog & de Meuron for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
- Y-Shaped Guest House was Co-Designed by HHF Architects & Artist Ai Weiwei
- Take a Tour of the Only House in the United States Designed by Ai Weiwei
- Ai Weiwei and HHF’s Artfarm Displays Contemporary Chinese Art Inside an Agricultural Building
Listing images courtesy of Klemm Real Estate