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Iconic modernist guest house by Paul Rudolph will hit the market soon

The Walker Guest House, in Florida, was a breakthrough for the architect

Low-slung modern guest house in black and white photo.
The Walker Guest House, in Florida, was Paul Rudolph’s first commission after opening his own practice.
©Ezra Stoller / ESTO courtesy Sarasota Modern

Midcentury architect Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House, on Sanibel Island, in Florida, is soon to hit the real estate market. According to the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, the house, sitting on 1.6 acres, will be listed for $6,795,000 in the coming weeks.

Commissioned in 1952, the 576-square-foot Walker Guest House is a leading example of the Sarasota Modern movement and Rudolph’s response to Mies van der Rohe’s International Style Farnsworth House.

In an earlier piece for Curbed, Timothy Rohan wrote:

With its lightweight, white wood frame, the Walker House was Rudolph’s “poor man’s” version of the Farnsworth’s expensive white, steel frame, whose beauty he could not help but admire. Rudolph corrected the main drawback of the Farnsworth House, evident as well in the Glass House (New Canaan, CT, 1945-49) by Philip Johnson: lack of privacy.

The house’s shutters controlled by a rigging system similar to those found on sailboats let the occupants choose how much privacy they want—either a “snug cottage” or a “large screened pavilion,” as Rudolph described—and protect the house from rain and wind.

Plan drawing showing shutters that can be raised up for more privacy.
Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

This was Rudolph’s first commission after he opened his own practice and in his later years he considered it one of his favorite designs. It’s currently still used by the Walker family.

The structure is sometimes referred to as the “Cannonball House” for the red weights that hold its shutters down.
Chris Mottalini

In November 2015, a full-size furnished replica of the Walker Guest House debuted at the The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The house then traveled to downtown Palm Springs, where it will be available for tours through March 2020. Here’s a look inside the impressive recreation.

For those interested in snagging the original, we’ll update this post with the listing once it’s live.