10 Modern Iconic Masterpieces

From Frank Lloyd Wright to Charles Gwathmey, we revisit some of the most memorable midcentury-modern homes from a range of iconic architects.
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Charles Gwathmey’s residential masterpiece, a modest yet pioneering home for his parents in the Hamptons, looks as fresh today as it did in 1965. The wood-frame residence and studio are clad in vertical cedar siding—back then, a daring competitor to clapboard—instead of concrete to save costs.  

The story of the Sandcastle begins with a man who has lived a life filled with adventure. Born in 1925 and raised in Southern California, Harry Gesner grew up surfing as much as he could. Along with serving in World War II, he also spent time as a television cartoonist in New York, an archeologist, water skiing instructor, and a seeker of challenges. His love for surfing and the ocean has continued throughout his entire life and has become a vital inspiration for his architectural work.

Located on the northern portion of Block Island and bordered by a low stone wall, this A-framed prefab is the family retreat of the late iconic designer Jens Risom. 

The Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, features a solar hemicycle footprint. 

Interior designer Tracy Beckmann and furniture designer Ryan Trowbridge renovated a little-known John Lautner building in Desert Hot Springs, California. The 1947 complex consisted of four bunker-like spaces with roofs suspended from I-beams, designed for a 600-acre master-planned residential community that never came to be. An architecture aficionado at Wells Fargo understood the site’s true value, believed in the project, and offered a mortgage if Beckmann and Trowbridge could pony up a 40-percent down payment on the $425,000 negotiated price. Over the next four years, Beckmann and Trowbridge set to work renovating the place, respecting Lautner’s original design and intentions while coaxing the interiors into the 21st century. Hotel Lautner opened in 2011. Among its first visitors were Judith Lautner and Karol Lautner Peterson, John Lautner’s daughters, who bestowed the ultimate thumbs-up on the renovation project. 

John Lautner’s Garcia House stands on stilts 60 feet above the canyon on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles. When John Mcllwee and Bill Damaschke purchased the residence in 2002, they began a journey to bring the masterpiece back to life after being passed around by multiple owners since its creation in 1962. 

The Gamble House, which was built by the Greene Brothers for the Proctor and Gamble family in 1908, is known as one of the most authentic and well-preserved examples of the Arts and Crafts movement that spread like a wildfire in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pasadena. Every detail of the the house was crafted by hand with an abundance of natural materials. 

The story behind the Hollyhock House is filled with drama that found its way into Frank Lloyd Wright’s life—both personal and professional. The result is an intriguing masterpiece that's filled with secrets just waiting to be discovered.  

New interior finishes, furniture, and a guesthouse were part of the restoration/renovation of John Lautner's Chemosphere, a 1960s house that makes frequent cameos in film and television.

The Gregory Residence is a masterclass example in design. Furnished by renowned New Hope woodworker George Nakashima, this private and rustic home offers ingenious versatility over its 1,644 square feet of space on a 10-acre lot.


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