Who would have guessed that a mere 2-hour drive from Manhattan is a house partially designed by Ai Weiwei, the great Chinese contemporary artist, sculptor and sometime architect? Not us, frankly. But it turns out that Ai’s 2005 collaboration with the Swiss design firm, HHF Architects, is back on the market—and don’t we feel foolish for not having an extra $4.2M on hand.
40 pristine acres in upstate New York hold not just one, but two Ai co-designed structures, both originally commissioned by a pair of art collectors: a 4,000+ square foot, rectangular, aluminum-clad main house; and a 2,000+ square foot, gently curving, Cor-Ten steel guesthouse.
And, befitting a collaboration between reductive Swiss design sensibilities and Ai’s penchant for highly-ordered installations, all the requisites of great modernist architecture are present: dramatic proportions, generous expanses of glass, indifference to ornamentation, preoccupation with geometry. And, of course, plenty of room reserved for displaying and viewing art. All that, and an intriguing provenance too. We’re betting this house’s tenure on the open market will be brief.
Photos: Houlihan Lawrence