(Via Architectural Digest)
Incredible properties by I.M. Pei, David Adjaye, and other legendary architects are for sale.
Unfortunately, you can’t live inside a Picasso. But you can nestle into a Frank Lloyd Wright or a Kengo Kuma. Homes designed by iconic architects are rare, and ownership is a luxury that few can afford. “They grant enormous bragging rights to their owners, and they also are, to some extent, an important cultural amenity and talking point for the neighborhood around them,” says Dan Conn, CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate.
Conn underscores the comparison to owning a famous painting or sculpture: “First, it is a great privilege, and second, it should come with a sense of obligation to honor and preserve it.”
An architectural home allows the owner “to sense the soul and intent of its designer,” according to Gerard Bisignano of Vista Sotheby’s International Realty. There is a sensory experience not attainable in even the finest of standard dwellings.” Bisignano is the agent for the Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, one such master work now on the market.
Photo: Courtesy of Setagaya Ku/Sotheby’s International Realty, Japan
Designed by Tadao Ando (Tokyo)
Asking Price: $7,211,192
Built in 1990, this three-story home
on a corner lot in Tokyo’s affluent Setagaya Ward is indicative of Tadao Ando’s predilection for exposed concrete and inventive use of natural light and space. Made of reinforced concrete, the circular 5,433-square-foot property is divided into three levels: a 3,055-square-foot ground floor, a 1,972-square-foot second floor and a 407-square-foot top floor.
According to the listing with Sotheby’s International Realty, the house has seven bedrooms and space for a boutique/atelier. The floors are independent but connect via an enclosed rear courtyard, where a Japanese cherry tree (or sakura) is visible from all living areas.Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
Designed by David Adjaye (London)
Asking Price: $8,681,715
From the outside, this three-bedroom home in King’s Cross by U.K. starchitect Sir David Adjaye is easy to miss. Inside, though, it’s a playground of spatial design and light, with sunlight spilling in through three large light wells that culminate in courtyards filled with tropical trees and a goldfish pond. Lost House (as it’s called) reflects Adjaye’s signature style, embracing cool minimalism and natural materials. At its center is a massive 60-foot reception room, illuminated by a glass ceiling that opens up to the London sky. Upstairs are a guest room and the master bedroom, with a lap pool just off the main bath. Work was completed in 2004, and this is the first time the property has come on the market in more than a decade.
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
Designed by Richard Neutra (Palm Springs, California)
Asking Price: $25 million
Richard Neutra built 470 West Vista Chino in 1946 for Edgar J. Kaufmann—the same Pittsburgh businessman who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. It was considered radical in its day, but paved the way for both the desert modernism of ’50s and ’60s Palm Springs and the “indoor outdoor” aesthetic now beloved in Southern California.
The 3,162-square-foot house features five bedrooms and six full bathrooms, plus a tennis court, lush lawn, and a swimming pool immortalized by photographers Julius Shulman and Slim Aarons. Its unique “pinwheel” design sees stone radiating from the central living and dining area. Elsewhere, glass walls are adorned with vertical aluminum louvers that both provide protection from the desert heat and assert themselves as a key design element.
From the main courtyard, a flight of stairs ascends to the Gloriette, an open-air perch that was Neutra’s way of sidestepping zoning laws against two-story buildings. After a series of renovations and questionable additions, the house was painstakingly restored to its original glory in the 1990s by Marmol Radziner.
Photo: Courtesy of Aubrie Pick/Compass
Designed by: Robert A.M. Stern (San Francisco)
Asking price: $7.1 million
Penthouse living is that much better in this eighth-floor residence, one of four penthouses in a new condominium
designed by celebrated architect Robert A.M. Stern at a cable-car crossing atop historic Nob Hill. “This site gave us the opportunity to connect to the wonderful Art Deco–inflected classicism that abounds in the neighborhood, working with traditional ideas and interpreting them in fresh new ways,” Stern said in a statement.
Three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and an open-concept living, dining, and kitchen space fill nearly 2,000 square feet of interior living space, with light-oak flooring, custom-scalloped molding, Dornbracht polished chrome fixtures, and Valli&Valli hardware throughout. An additional 925 square feet of exterior space includes a pair of terraces on the main floor and a rooftop terrace with exquisite views of downtown San Francisco and the Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
Designed by William Pedersen (Shelter Island, New York)
Asking Price: $8,495,000
William Pedersen, founding partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, is best known for towering skyscrapers like Manhattan’s 10 Hudson Yards and Shanghai’s World Financial Center. But his weekend retreat on Long Island’s Shelter Island is meant to integrate with its bucolic surroundings. The two-floor getaway “almost creates a sculptural form that becomes part of the land,” Pedersen told the New York Times
. “It rises from the land almost like an island emerges from the water.”
The home, which took Pedersen nearly 20 years to complete, is based on a multi-axis framework: The exterior is clad in bluestone and sheets of standing seam copper, while the interior is filled with concrete, stone and Douglas fir wood paneling. There’s an open flow between the outdoor entertaining areas, the public spaces at the heart of the property, and the long passageway to the three private bedrooms. A floating wood staircase leads to a second-floor living room with wood-burning fireplace, eat-in kitchen and dining area.Photo: Jean-Patrick Deya/Getty Images
Designed by Antti Lovag (Théoule-sur-Mer, France)
Price: Available Upon Request
The best known work by Hungarian architect Antti Lovag, Palais Bulles (“Bubble Palace”) has been owned by the couturier Pierre Cardin since 1991. Embedded in the cliffs of the Massif de L’Esterel, a volcanic mountain range in the French Riviera, its numerous terra-cotta spheres are emblematic of the designer who gave us the bubble dress and the architect who dismissed straight lines as “an aggression against nature.” The 13,000-square-foot retreat includes 10 space-age bedroom suites—with round beds and decor by contemporary artists like Patrice Breteau and Jérôme Tisserand—plus a massive banquet hall and a panoramic lounge with windows that look out to the sea (through round portholes, of course).
Outside, a 500-seat open-air amphitheater overlooks the bays of Cannes and Nice, and more than two acres of masterfully landscaped grounds are festooned with tropical gardens, pools, ponds, and waterfalls.Photo: Courtesy of Christie’s
I.M. Pei (New York City)
Asking price: $8 million
Not only did the Pritzker-winning architect renovate this four-story townhome on the Upper East Side, he and his wife, Eileen, lived there for over 45 years
. One of Pei’s few residential projects, 11 Sutton delivers his sophisticated modernist aesthetic on a more personal level. When Pei purchased the 3,848-square-foot townhouse from eccentric socialite Polly Delano (a cousin and confidante of FDR), “it was in a dilapidated condition,” his son, Sandi, told The Wall Street Journal
. “Dark and dirty and sort of crumbling.”
Pei invigorated the house with dramatic floor-to-ceiling picture windows offering views of the East River and a breathtaking spiral staircase capped by an oblong skylight reminiscent of his iconic glass pyramid for the Louvre in Paris. He also designed soapstone mantels for three of the house’s four working fireplaces and added built-in bookshelves in the library and a temperature-controlled wine cellar in the basement.