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Photos via Zillow
Location: Ghent, New York
When evaluating a glass-clad Modernist home, saying that it was inspired by Philip Johnson's Glass House is akin to observing that a funk song owes a debt to James Brown. It's the obvious, and likely accurate, reference point. But that doesn't mean the new take doesn't do the source material proud. The Gefter-Press House, a U-shaped glass home/viewing gallery built on 12.7 acres near the Hudson River Valley, was initially just a concept designed by architect and Columbia University professor Michael Bell. Part of a 1999 MoMA exhibit exploring ideas of seclusion and escape called "The Un-Private House," which included work by Shigeru Ban, Diller + Scofidio, Steven Holl and SANAA, the unlikely concept—public housing in Houston that riffed off the Farnsworth House—caught the eyes of Philip Gefter, a former New York Times editor, and filmmaker Richard Press, (who directed a documentary on style photographer Bill Cunningham and also happens to have a project about the Farnsworth House in the works). "The design was poetic and simple and elegant, and it seemed new even though it was using a Modernist language." Gefter told Metropolis. When they decided to build their own home, the couple reached out to Bell in an attempt to replicate the concept in real life. A pair of contractors and roughly $800,000 later, they had their own custom-built transparent home, dubbed the binocular house.
Bell's concept manages to overcome the lack of privacy endemic to the building material with a subtle arrangement of rooms. The U shape of the 2,368-square-foot home terminates in two studies facing outward towards the woods, so the couple has space to work separately, and the living quarters are separated from each other by a set of bathrooms and sliding doors. Curtain tracks provide additional privacy. The result is a perch to observe nature (each double-glazed panel can be slid open), with safeguards that let residents feel like they're not always on display. First listed at $2.25 million, the home has taken a decent price cut while languishing on the market for more than a year, no doubt due to the more remote location and particularities of life inside a glass rectangle. Many admire the clarity of structure and vision that come with this type of Modernist home, but it doesn't always make for the most comfortable home.
∙ Undisclosed Address in Ghent, NY 12075 [Zillow]
∙ Glass House Tribute in the Hudson Valley Seeks $2.25M [Curbed]
∙ All House of the Day posts [Curbed]