Photos via Leslie J. Garfield
New York City’s first modern residence, designed by architect William Lescaze, has hit the market for $4.95 million. Swiss-born New Yorker, Lecaze is credited with pioneering the modernism movement in the United States, beginning with a townhome he designed for himself in 1934. Known as the William Lescaze House, the four-story home at 211 East 48th Street served as the architect’s personal home and studio. The now-landmarked townhouse was totally restored by Sage Realty, who “painstakingly renovated” the street facade to match its original condition.
While glass blocks are common design elements today, Lescaze was the first to build a home with them in New York. Glass provides a way to be fuel efficient and private. “They add to the amount of daylight without adding to the fuel bill, they let daylight through yet obscured the uninteresting view of the nine-story apartment house across the street, and they deadened street noises,” Lescaze said in The Making of an Architect.
As part of the restoration, the exterior stucco finish was patched and repainted to roughly Lescaze’s original specifications. The 5″ x 5″ glass block also matches the original block used by the architect. Inside, Sage maintained a modernist feel by installing a glass-hydraulic elevator and updating the kitchen with a contemporary style.
The townhouse was designated as an official NYC landmark in 1976 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. According to the designation report, Lescaze’s home reflects a “harmonious design of deceptive simplicity.”
“The sudden appearance on East 48th Street of this startlingly ‘modern’ facade of 1934, set between deteriorating brownstones of the post-Civil War period, had a dramatic impact upon the streetscape and the neighborhood,” the report read.
The outdoor, north-facing courtyard with solid glass block skylights was added during the restoration. Located on a block of 26 townhouses, 211 East 48th Street boldly sits on a quiet Turtle Bay block. The home will be delivered vacant.
Another former home of Lescaze hit the market late last year for $20 million. The Upper East Side home, located at 32 East 74th Street, hasn’t been as well preserved inside as his Turtle Bay townhome, but the exterior still boasts a white stucco and glass brick facade.
Next door to the William Lescaze House, 209 East 48th Street is also for sale, asking $3.95 million. The four-story home is split into two residences, with a ground floor apartment and a triplex above it.
All images courtesy of Leslie J. Garfield
Neighborhoods : Turtle Bay