Originally built in 1867 as a single-family home in a row of elegant townhouses on Manhattan’s east side, 23 Beekman Place came into Paul Rudolph’s life when the architect rented a small, one-bedroom apartment in 1961. In 1974, a dip in the housing market fortuitously allowed Rudolph to purchase the townhouse outright. In the years following, he gradually transformed the historic structure into a brilliant, modernist gem.
The renovations encompassed the five original floors of the townhouse and the addition of a spectacular, four-level penthouse that cantilevers out over Beekman Place. The penthouse became Rudolph’s primary residence and design laboratory—and gives much insight into Rudolph’s thinking about architecture and interior design.
Designed as a "spatially rich and very personal vision of the possibilities of architecture," 23 Beekman went on to become a testing ground for Ruldoph’s ideas. The bright, airy interiors are both soaring and layered, allowing the architect to experiment with materials and lighting techniques—such as installing a "light curtain" (a series of light bulbs suspended in front of a mirrored wall) to give the illusion of infinite space in his bedroom. There was once a lucite bathtub that hung above the kitchen.
Fast forward to the present, and the home has been renovated by the current owners who worked with the architects Jared Della Valle and Andrew Bernheimer to keep every update true to Rudolph’s original vision. In fact, their work was awarded by the American Institute of Architecture.
The Paul Rudolph Townhouse now presents several options for potential buyers: the new owner can maintain the current configuration, living in the penthouse and keeping the lower four floors as separate apartments, or convert the entire building to one enormous, single-family residence.
Read more about 23 Beekman from The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation.
23 Beekman Place is currently being listed for $18,500,000 by Lena Datwani and Jonathan Hettinger of Sotheby's International Real Estate.
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