This must be the week of glass houses: Yesterday we took a look at Philip Johnson’s Wiley House–built as a successor to his world-famous Glass House–which is on the market for $14 million; today we’re checking out the $1,950,000 Gefter-Press House, inspired by Johnson’s Glass House as well as Mies van der Rohe’s Farnswoth House in Plano, IL.
The U-shaped, single-story, all-glass-and-steel home was designed in 2007 by Columbia University professor and architect Michael Bell, “as an essay in transparency,” according to the listing. He had previously displayed a model of the home at a 1999 MoMA exhibit titled “The Un-Private House.” Philip Gefter, the former culture pictures editor at the New York Times, and his partner, filmmaker Richard Press, had seen the model, and called Bell when they were ready to build their own version of the modernist masterpiece on their 12-acre property in Ghent, NY.
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The listing says it’s “perhaps the ultimate Mid-Century Modern home available in the world.” We can’t confirm or deny that statement, but we can assure you that this property, Philip Johnson’s Wiley House, is a pretty incredible piece of modern architecture. Located in New Canaan, the same Connecticut town as the architect’s world-famous Glass House, the Wiley House is considered the most “livable” of all Johnson’s works. It was built in the 1950s, sits on six acres of land, and is “a transparent glass rectangle cantilevered over a stone podium,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Wall Street executive Frank Gallipoli bought the property for $1 million in 1994, a time when buying modernist homes was not as popular as it is today. He then spent millions more to restore the property, preserving Johnson’s original design, but adding green upgrades like heat-insulating glass panes and floor heating. Gallipoli told the Journal that living in the home is like being “up in a treehouse.”
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Photo via Le Travelist
Aby Rosen’s plans to update the Four Seasons has been squashed by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. According to Crain’s, the only upgrade that received a nod from the commission was a request to change the carpet. Bigger renovations, like replacing a non-original fissured glass partition with planters and to replace a fixed walnut panel between the public and private dining rooms with a movable one, were all rejected. “There is no good reason why they should make these changes,” said Meenakshi Srinivasan, the commission’s chairwoman, Crain’s reports. “There’s no rationale. The space could function perfectly well without these changes, so why do it?”
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Photo via Le Travelist
As you probably already know, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the NYC landmarks law. And one of the ways the city is marking the historic event is with an exhibit at the New York School of Interior Design called Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Landmark Interiors, which focuses on some of the 117 public spaces throughout the five boroughs that have been designated interior landmarks. In conjunction with this exhibit, Open House New York recently hosted an interior landmark scavenger hunt (for which 6sqft took eighth place out of 40 teams!), which brought participants to designated interior spaces in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn over the course of seven hours.
One of the spots we visited was the Four Seasons restaurant inside the famed Seagram Building. Through our scavenger hunt challenges here, we learned just how groundbreaking this restaurant was for its innovative design and role as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot. But the Four Seasons, despite its landmark status, is facing an uncertain future.
Learn about the past, present, and future of the Four Seasons here
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Last Friday, we journeyed to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for the Panorama Challenge at the Queens Museum. When the evening of trivia was over, we walked out into the park to find the Unisphere and the Museum, both World’s Fair relics, glowing. But in the distance, Philip Johnson‘s iconic New York State Pavilion was barely visible. That’s about to change, though, as electricians and preservationists have been testing new ways to illuminate the “modern ruin” for the first time in decades, according to the Daily News.
The update comes thanks to a wave of public support to restore the icon, as well as a renewed interest in its architectural merit and the history of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. As we wrote over the summer, the pavilion’s restoration task force secured $5.8 million for repairs, $4.2 million of which came from Mayor de Blasio. Now, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has pledged to get the site illuminated by the end of the year. “We will restore this national treasure into a visible icon befitting ‘The World’s Borough’ for generations of families and visitors to enjoy,” she said.
More details on the lighting project
Calluna Farms © Craig White via Flickr
If you’ve never visited Philip Johnson‘s world-famous Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, you probably imagine it as a single, transparent structure sitting on a vast swath of land. But, in fact, it’s one of 14 buildings on the 49-acre campus, which together made up what Johnson and his partner David Whitney considered “the perfect deconstructed home.” So, the couple didn’t live in the Glass House quite like most of us thought, but rather used it as the focal point of a glamorous weekend retreat.
When the Glass House compound reopens for tours this spring, two of these lesser-known structures will be open to the public–the 1905 shingled farmhouse Calluna Farms, which was used as an art gallery and sometimes as a sleeping spot, and an 18th-century timber house called Grainger that served as a movie room for Johnson and Whitney.
More on the Glass House compound
Back in June, we learned that the Chetrit Group was planning to partially convert the Philip Johnson-designed Sony Tower at 550 Madison Avenue to high-end condos. And it has now been revealed that the 96 condo units will amount to a jaw-dropping $1.8 billion sellout, according to plans the developer filed with the Attorney General’s office. By comparison, the initial total sellout at One57 was $2 billion, and at 432 Park Avenue it was $2.4 billion.
More on the luxury conversion
Images: J.Crew catalog via J.Crew (L); Knicks vs. Yankees map via DNAinfo (R)
Nest Seekers’ Ryan Serhant may have just found his nest egg at the Renwick Modern, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down at all. The star broker is now hard at work on the listing for the neighboring Penthouse 1, which is asking $6.35 million. This luxurious loft-like condo stuns with a sprawling 2,700 square feet of never-before-lived-in interior space and an additional 1,380 square feet of outdoor space in the form of a roof deck and four separate terraces. Sound impressive? Let’s take a closer look.
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Philip Johnson is best known for his use of glass, and his iconic Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, is without question his most famous work. But did you know that Johnson also dabbled in plywood construction? In fact, the architect designed several wood homes in the forestlands of Connecticut, including the Wiley Speculative House.
The home was the first (and ultimately, only) of Johnson’s “speculative houses” planned for a large scale residential development headed by the Wiley Development Corporation in 1954. Though built without a hitch, and despite Wiley’s willingness to replicate the home for anyone, anywhere in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, Wiley’s hope for a Johnson-designed development flopped as nobody wanted to pay $45,000 to live in one of the houses. As a result, the Wiley Speculative House saw a somewhat sad fate and remained under the ownership of Wiley’s trust until it was sold off a year later. Since then, the home has changed hands at least nine times, and now nearly 60 years later it’s for grabs again, this time for $1.575 million.
More on the lesser-known Johnson house here