Smith Renovation and Expansion
As a founding figure of American modern sculpture, Tony Smith’s public sculpture graces landmark buildings and institutions across the US. For many, the elegant simplicity of of his sculptural work define mark a high point in American modernism, with works such as ‘Light Up‘ installed at the base of Mies Van der Rohe’s Seagram building in New York City and substantial works in the collections the Guggenheim Museum, MOMA, The National Gallery, SF MOMA, MFA Boston,and LACMA, among many others.
Prior to his years career as a sculptor, however, Smith entered his professional life working as a clerk to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1938. Throughout the 1940′s and 1950′s, Smith obtained a range of private commissions and created a handful of thoughtful, predominantly domestic work, which presaged his later development as a sculptor, as he sought ever more expressive and ductile media for his formal pursuits. It was in the early 1950s, just as Smith became inspired by the humble construction of an office file cabinet to commission his first steel construction, that he designed a delicate retreat from New York City life near the banks of the Hudson in Westchester County. While marked by many hallmarks of mid-century modern American architecture, such as clerestory windows, timber-frame construction, and flat roofs, the proportions and formal relationships present in the house are distinctly Smith. The stacking of the volumes in the center of the house, the layered extrusions of the living room, and the flat planes of the side of the home hint at future developments and give the home a uniquely sculptural strength rarely found in domestic architecture of the period.
By 2012, however, the home had fallen into disuse. The single-pane glass, the lack of air conditioning and limited heating, and the failing foundation, and the high value of the land made the home a target for demolition. Fortunately, however, the landmark project found a buyer who understood the intrinsic value of the design and its place within the Smith legacy.
LABhaus is proud to be apart of the next chapter in the story of this masterpiece of 20th century architecture. Currently, we are renovating the existing structure in order to preserve its beauty and repair sixty years of weather damage and settling. In the coming months, we will be expanding the home with an eye toward its next sixty years by taking inspiration from Smith’s later sculptural work. We will post images of the addition as the project progresses.