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Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House is heading to auction

It’s expected to sell for $700,000 to $1 million

Low-slung modern guest house in black and white photo. ©Ezra Stoller / ESTO courtesy Sarasota Modern

Earlier this year, renowned midcentury architect Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House hit the market for an eye-popping $6,795,000. Apparently unsold, the house will now head to a Sotheby’s auction this month, where it’s expected to fetch an estimated $700,000 to $1 million; this more modest sum includes the movable house plus carefully-preserved original furnishings, but not the land where the structure currently resides.

Rudolph built the 576-square foot house on Sanibel Island, Florida, in 1952 as a rebuttal of sorts to the glassy forms of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House. Rudolph’s design was boxy and glassy, too, but he updated it with a series of features that set it apart from International Style homes at the time.

Sitting atop a wooden platform and encased in glass like a jewel box, Rudolph’s design is famous for its panel shade system devised to give residents more privacy and protection from harsh weather. Twelve wooden flaps are hinged at the top of the home’s frame. Each is counterweighted with a cannonball that could be raised, lowered, or hover in between to allow a precise amount of light and air to flow through the house, which contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and open living and dining area.

The Walker Guest House will be part of Sotheby’s Important Design auction, opening on December 12. The event also feature works from other design luminaries like Ettore Sottsass, George Nakashima, and Luis Barragán.