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The Kaufmann House (a.k.a. Kaufmann Desert House)

The Kaufmann House (a.k.a. Kaufmann Desert House)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012
This week's blog post brings us to sunny California, one on my favorite States in the USA. California symbolized throughout most of the twentieth century the good life in America. In some way, at least in my opinion, it still does. This is why I love finding and writing about its special and famous homes.
The Kaufmann House, located in Palm Springs, was designed by Richard Neutra in 1946. The home was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., a Pittsburgh department store tycoon as a desert retreat from harsh winters. A decade earlier, Kaufmann commissioned Frank Llyod Wright to build Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.
The house has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a pool, tennis court, a pool house ("viewing pavilion") and large sliding glass walls which open the living spaces and master bedroom to adjacent patios. Major outdoor rooms are enclosed by a row of movable vertical fins that offer flexible protection against sandstorms and intense heat. The home was supposedly sold on May 13, 2008, for US$15 million at an auction by Christie's but the sale later fell through, as the bidder breached terms of the purchase agreement. Most unusual about the sale, though, was the fact that Christie's categorized the home not as a residence or a piece of property, but as a work of art. It hit the market once again a few months later, this time as a regular real estate sale, for just under $12.9 million, but it seems it never sold and it looks as if it has since been taken off the market.
The Kaufmann house is not only considered to be one of Richard Neutra's finest designs, but also one of the most important examples of mid-century modernist architecture in the entire world. This house is also a great example of how Neutra was known for catering to the needs of his clients, so that their houses would be not only functional but also nurture their owners psychologically.
Two of the most special and iconic architectural dwellings in the entire world - the easter mountain "Fallingwater" and western desert "Kaufmann House" - were constructed for the same man. Mr. Kaufmann must have been a very interesting person to meet.
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