Everything Emptying Into White

Rudolph House
photo: Donald Luckenbill Architect

Today's living spaces can be so boring. Everyone gets his own room, and every household function is physically separated from everything else. These days, the closest we get to modernist idealism is the open-plan loft. It's as if function totally kicked form's ass.

Countering this, the PAUL RUDOLPH HOUSE (paulrudolph.org), a townhouse the architect developed at 246 East 58th Street, is open to fellow visionaries—and everyone else—the first Sunday of each month. It offers a glimpse of what might have been if we hadn't gotten lazy and gone all reactionary with our houses. As in his own Beekman Place abode, spaces bleed into each other. The bedrooms overlook the living room—this is not a house for anyone with a small child. Nearly every surface is white, including walls, shag carpeting, and floor-to-ceiling open storage. One treads lightly through a John Soane-like hoard of antiquities (tiny classical statuettes, gold chargers, African masks) that perfectly offset the disco hedonism curling around all that whiteness.

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