In 1948, Paul Rudolph was residing at the American Academy in Rome. He had traveled there to study classical architecture, but was instead spending his days designing modern houses for Sarasota, Florida. In fact, Sarasota, according to Timothy Rohan who has recently published a monograph on Rudolph, made a huge impression on the architect and defined his work for the rest of his career. He had moved there to apprentice and work for the local architect Ralph Twitchell, who in the 1940s helped create a style of modern house that eventually became known as the Sarasota school.
A Fifth Avenue apartment designed by Paul Rudolph in 1970 has been sold to a private owner for $26 million according to the the New York Observer. Commissioned by Claire & Maurits Edersheim for whom Rudolph also renovated a Larchmont New York house and a Smith Barney office, the apartment, according to the Paul Rudolph Foundation, “features many of the characteristic elements of Rudolph’s interior architecture from the mid-Sixties through the Seventies: extensive use of mirrors and reflective surfaces, plastics and other synthetic materials, curvilinear geometry, painterly use of color, and experimental lighting.”
While it is not known if the new owners will retain any of the classic Rudolph interior, the Observer noted that the owners plan to combine the unit with another to create a larger duplex, which could mean Rudolph’s details will be lost. The interior currently has a series of Rudolph’s typical small, highly-designed spaces which look perfect for a dry martini!
Concrete architecture from the 1970s hasn’t been faring well of late, but while Bertrand Goldberg’s expressionist Prentice Hospital seems destined for the wrecking ball, Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York has been spared. In a 15-6 vote, the members of the Orange County Legislature backed a resolution to renovate the building, defeating efforts by County Executive Edward Diana who has pushed for demolition of Rudolph’s dynamic and puzzling structure. The arguments hinged on cost more than on architectural merit, but even so, architecture fans will be relieved that this unique building will be spared.
The Paul Rudolph townhouse at 23 Beekman Place hit the market in early December, listed at $27.5 million. The property consists of four separate apartments, including the four-level penthouse that Rudolph himself lived in, along with his pet rabbits. But buyer beware: the penthouse, which was renovated in 2006 by Della Valle and Bernheimer, retains many signature Rudolph elements, like the death-defying stairways with no rails. Potential buyers should also consider getting “some new sprinklers and a back-up security system installed,” as Chas Tenembaum, one fictional former tenant of The Royal Tenenbaums fame, noted after failing to escape the house in adequate time after a fire drill. “Four minutes and forty-eight seconds. We’re all dead. Burned to a crisp.”
[This photo essay accompanies AN's recent article on the pending demise of Paul Rudolph's Orange County Government Center in New York. Read more here.]
The day before Orange County Executive Director Eddie Diana presented plans for replacing architect Paul Rudolph‘s Orange County Government Center, AN took a trip up to Goshen, New York with photographer Aracelis Diamantis to check out the scene. Diamantis ditched her SLR in favor of a Hipstimatic app on her iPhone. The effect gave the building a haunted-Brutalist-house quality and amplified the the architect’s multi-textured use of concrete.
194X–9/11: American Architects and the City
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St.
Through January 2
Prompted by the United States’ entrance into World War II in 1942, Architectural Forum magazine commissioned pioneering architects to imagine and plan a postwar American city. At the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 194X-9/11: American Architects and the City features the plans, renderings, and sculpture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, and Rem Koolhaas and their ideas for cities of the future. Rarely displayed works, such as Mies van der Rohe’s collage Museum for a Small City Project (1942), above, reveal plans for cultural centers and urban life in uncertain times.