Bunshaft, Gordon

Bunshaft, Gordon

Bunshaft, Gordon, 1909-90, American architect, b. Buffalo, N.Y. As chief designer for the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Bunshaft was responsible for Lever House, New York City's first glass curtain-wall skyscraper (1952), which has been widely imitated. Among his other works are the Manufacturers Trust Company building on Fifth Ave. at 43d St. in Manhattan, New York City; a complex of buildings near Hartford for the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; and the Banque Lambert, Brussels (1965).
The Bunshaft Residence, sometimes called the Travertine House was an iconic modernist home designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft for himself and his wife on a 2.4-acre (0.97 ha) lot on the shore of Georgica Pond in East Hampton, New York. It was designed in 1962 and completed in 1963. It was Bunshaft's sole residential design.

The house was contained within a rectangular box, 100 feet (30.5 M) long by 26 feet (7.9 M) wide, with its long dimension tangent to the lagoon's shoreline to the south and raised on a broad six-foot berm above the floodplain. The exterior walls were poured-in-place concrete clad with travertine and the exposed roof structure was made up of pre-stressed concrete beams with a "double T" shape, exposed on either edge with the openings filled with plate glass clerestory windows. The ends of the house were shaded by a 4-foot (1.2 M) extension of the roof and side walls with a paved strip extending the stone flooring to the edge of the walls.

The main living spaces had floor-to-ceiling plate glass openings. Interior walls were white-painted plaster and the floors were travertine over a concrete slab foundation. The entry door, one of only two openings in the solid north wall, opened directly into a small entry hall between the central living room and the master bedroom. Opposite the open living area was a smaller guest bedroom and a study, separated from the living space by a U-shaped kitchen and the guest bath.

The Bunshafts decorated their retreat primarily in off-whites with natural wood and glass and occasional red accents. Lighting was designed to highlight their art collection which included works by Pablo Picasso, Le Corbusier, Jack Youngerman, and Henry Moore as well as rocks with faces painted on them by Mrs Bunshaft.

When Bunshaft's widow died in 1994 the house and its artworks were willed to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York. The Museum sold the house to Martha Stewart for $3.2 million. She commissioned a restoration to be designed by British architect John Pawson. In the course of this project an addition to the home was initiated, but never completed. Stewart transferred the property to her daughter, Alexis, who in turn sold it to Donald Maharam in 2004 for $9.5 million. He demolished it in in July 2004 for construction of a new house.


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