Starting tomorrow, the public is being invited into some of the most intriguing modernist private residences in New York City. Part of City Modern, a two-week architectural event that is a collaboration between Dwell and New York magazine, the home tours will take places around Cobble Hill in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, and will surely incite some major real estate envy. City Modern also includes discussions with high-profile members of the modernist and contemporary design and architecture world, including architect David Rockwell, Paola Antonelli of MoMA, and designer Jonathan Adler.
But what’s really unique are the home tours, with this Saturday devoted to Manhattan and then Sunday to Brooklyn. Ever wanted to see David Salle’s Fort Greene complex, or a skyscraper residence with an 80-foot slide? Well unless you have connections, this is likely your chance. And a chance to look at how modern architecture has worked its was into Brooklyn, a more recent center for contemporary transformations of historic spaces.
Here are five homes that look especially inviting:
Artist David Salle’s Fort Greene home is a behemoth, stretching between two buildings — one a former Masonic temple — he bought in a run down state in the 1990s. Designer Christian Hubert helped merge them into one 10,000-square-foot compound that sprawls over half a city block, including of course a massive studio for his often-massive paintings.
Flavor Paper Pad
The Flavor Paper Pad on Pacific Street in Brooklyn isn’t quite the stationary confectionary hang out you might expect from its name, but is instead a former 16,000-square-foot parking garage that’s been redesigned by architect Jeff Kovel of Skylab Architecture into a home and an outpost of wallpaper company Flavor Paper. And this is not your standard roll-out florals, but wallpaper of the “bespoke” variety, showcased on “leather-clad cabinetry and ceilings to furry bedroom walls.” But personally, I’d go for the rooftop meadow, because that’s ridiculous.
Warning: this is probably the most likely home tour to inspire deep insecure loathing for your own hovel. The Skyhouse is as lofty as it sounds. A collaboration between architect David Hotson and interior designer Ghislaine Viñas, the penthouse takes over four stories that were once vacant at the top of a 19th century Manhattan skyscraper. And it even has its own slide, which loops 80-feet in polished steel through the place. And if that isn’t enough, apparently its guest bedroom shower “captures the glow of the Chrysler Building.”
For the Fractal Pad, Architect Matthew Bremer of Architecture in Formation took fractal geometry as inspiration, as well as Plato’s Cave, to create something that would be a retreat. It only has one side with windows, and video artist Jeffrey Wells designed an electronic wall that has projections of windows on the other side. That seems a little disorienting and claustrophobic, but maybe it’s on the comforting side of modernist caves.
Dean Street Townhouse
While it might not be as ostentatious as other homes on this list, the Dean Street Townhouse was designed by architect Clay Miller of Bergen Street Studio in a building that was once deemed inhospitable. However, the landmarked Brooklyn home now has 4,600 of quite livable space open to the garden and with a “green wall” for even more nature, which I presume means a wall covered in flourishing plants. Careful if you have allergies, although it seems plenty airy in the townhouse.
City Modern opens tonight and will run until October 4 throughout New York City.