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Glass Pad Inspired by Modernist Greats Wants $1.95M

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Photos via Zillow

Location: Ghent, New York
Price: $1,950,000

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]