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 lot on the shore of Georgica Pond. The Long Island weekend getaway completed in 1963 served as a gallery of sorts for Bunshaft’s extensive collection of sculpture and painting. The building’s grounded, practical form illustrated Bunshaft’s unromanticized vision and functional approach.
Gordon Bunshaft Residence Technical Information
- Architects: Gordon Bunshaft / SOM
- Location: Georgica Pond in East Hampton, New York, USA
- Topics: Mid Century, American Houses, Pritzker, Travertine
- Area: 210 m2
- Status: Demolished in 2004
- Project Year: 1962 – 1963
- Photographs: © Ezra Stoller/ESTO, Unknown
The Bunshaft house is…a perfect setting for paintings and sculpture and each piece in the collection is seen to its full advantage.
– Architectural Record in 1965
Gordon Bunshaft House Photographs
Built-in 1962 as Bunshaft’s home, Travertine House was a symmetrical, single-story structure 26 feet wide by 100 feet long that balanced stone-walled pavilions on either side of a central glass-walled core. There was a central living room running the depth of the house, a master bedroom and bathroom at one end, a kitchen, a guest bedroom, and a studio.
The living room and porch faced out over Georgica Pond. Known primarily through a series of photographs by architectural photographer Ezra Stoller, the Travertine House was indeed a residential gallery.
Incorporating double-T pre-stressed concrete roof panels also employed in Bunshaft’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. (1974), the house was designed to display his significant collection of modern art. The works included pieces by Giacometti, Dubuffet, and Miro, situated throughout the house’s interior and 2.4-acre grounds.
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—besides, sidewalls with a paved strip extended 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.
Gordon Bunshaft House Plans
Gordon Bunshaft House Image Gallery
About Gordon Bunshaft
Gordon Bunshaft (1909 – 1990) was an American architect, a leading proponent of modern design in the mid-twentieth century. A partner in the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Bunshaft joined in 1937 and remained for more than 40 years. He has been credited with opening a whole new era of skyscraper design with his first major design project in 1952, the 24-story Lever House in New York. Many consider it the keystone of establishing the International Style as corporate America’s standard in architecture, at least through the 1970s.
Other works from Gordon Bunshaft