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Wallace K Harrison Estate Restoration by SchappacherWhite

Atop a hill on Long Island removed from the fog of the shoreline, architect Wallace K Harrison in the early 1930s purchased land to design a house for his wife and himself. However, after the purchase of the land, the young architect had inadequate funds to pay for construction. Then, while touring the annual Architectural League show in Grand Central Palace, he paid around $1000 for what many consider the first prefab home, the Aluminaire House designed by A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey. In 1931, Harrison designed what he considered a summer-use extension to the “Tin House” adding a series of circles, “an exercise in how to fit circles together”.

Around 1940, the Tin House was relocated on the property and a second, linear wing with bathrooms and baths was added to the former circular forms. The Harrison Estate, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, represents the leading edge of the International Style. It has now undergone a complete restoration and expansion, designed by SchappacherWhite Ltd., that honors Harrison’s original design intent while satisfying the needs of a 21st century family. The Harrison Estate was a laboratory for ideas Harrison expressed in his architecture. The home’s signature element, the circle, is found in the forms of the living room, small former dining room, pool, and even concrete pavers used for walkways, all of which have been restored by SchappacherWhite. Spaces were winterized and built to today’s sustainable standards.

The Harrison house was not only a place for architectural exploration, but also a home for many artists and a canvas for site-specific works. In 1942, Fernand Leger, escaping the war in Europe, came to the house and painted a canvas for the large round living room and also painted figurative swimmers on the bottom of the circular swimming pool. Existing and restored is the only remaining Leger artwork, a skylight located at the new dining room. Amongst the many artists and friends whom enjoyed the house were Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Mary Callery, Robert Moses, and Le Corbusier.

Wallace K Harrison Estate, Restoration by SchappacherWhite, via: Arch Daily


Thursday, December 30th, 2010


Exhibition: Sunny Memories
°on line by Bart Lens

 

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