Andrew Geller’s 1958 Pearlroth House Undergoing Restoration

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Andrew Geller’s Pearl Roth House (1958) (Image Courtesy of Jake Gorst)

Andrew Geller‘s infamous Pearlroth House, a uniquely designed beach residence located on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach, New York, is undergoing a significant restoration. The task is being carried out by Richard Reinhardt of Reinhardt/O’Brien Contracting and is being supervised by architect Rick Cook, of Cook + Fox Architects, owners Jonathan Pearlroth and Holly Posner, and Andrew Geller’s grandson, Jake Gorst. The one-of-a-kind house was originally built in 1958 for Arthur Pearlroth, an executive for the New York Port Authority, who once had a reputation for being a “lady’s man,” but Gellar collaborated more closely on its actual design with Pearlroth’s wife, Mitch. The couple commissioned Gellar, who often drafted his designs only after carefully studying the projected site and the family’s living habits, to design a summer house that didn’t resemble their ordinary four-walled New York City apartment. The clever design has come to be referred to colloquially as the “square brassiere.”


Restoration of The Pearlroth House (Image Courtesy of Jake Gorst)

The house is composed of two elongated box shapes that are rotated and perched on their sharp edges, forming two diamond-shaped pods. This unusual geometry is one that Geller had previously used in some of his other designs. He believed that by tilting the squares the house would be more resistant to the storms that washed through the region. The idea was that the wind gusting from the Atlantic Ocean would blow under and over the sloping walls.

The tiny 600-square-foot house was not built for privacy. Not only do the top levels of each pod contain three bunkrooms and one bathroom, and the walls on the bottom level are lined with long benches that could be used as guest beds, but the empty void between the two high-peaked diamond-shaped boxes is filled with a glass-enclosed living area. Passersby could gander at the activities taking place on the inside and vice versa.

Restoration of the house involves relocating the structure to a new site where it will be lifted and suspended on stilts to ensure its protection from flooding during stormy weather conditions. Once restoration of the house is complete it will be converted into a museum where tours will be available by appointment.


Restoration of the Pearlroth House (Image courtesy of Jake Gorst)

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