Paul Rudolph’s Landmark Beekman Place Townhouse in NYC Asks $18.5M

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Built in 1867 and taken over by architect Paul Rudolph in the ’70s as an architectural testing ground, 23 Beekman Place now seeks a new owner.

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. 

With four levels and five private terraces, the penthouse cantilevers over Beekman Place in Manhattan. 

With four levels and five private terraces, the penthouse cantilevers over Beekman Place in Manhattan. 

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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.

The five floors beneath the penthouse comprise three private residences, each of which retains the hallmarks of Rudolph's signature style. 

The five floors beneath the penthouse comprise three private residences, each of which retains the hallmarks of Rudolph's signature style. 

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. 

One of the highlights is the sleek, wood-burning fireplace. 

One of the highlights is the sleek, wood-burning fireplace. 

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. 

23 Beekman has been featured in fashion shoots, TV shows, and movies—including a memorable fire drill scene from director Wes Anderson's 2001 cult favorite, "The Royal Tenenbaums."

23 Beekman has been featured in fashion shoots, TV shows, and movies—including a memorable fire drill scene from director Wes Anderson's 2001 cult favorite, "The Royal Tenenbaums."

The chef's kitchen includes a Gaggenau six-burner stove, a Bosch dishwasher, and two Subzero refrigerators. 

The chef's kitchen includes a Gaggenau six-burner stove, a Bosch dishwasher, and two Subzero refrigerators. 

The bright and airy penthouse consists of approximately 4,000 square feet which includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

The bright and airy penthouse consists of approximately 4,000 square feet which includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

The current owners employed architects Jared Della Valle and Andrew Bernheimer to update the penthouse in a manner consistent with Rudolph's original vision. Their work on 23 Beekman was awarded by the American Institute of Architecture. 

The current owners employed architects Jared Della Valle and Andrew Bernheimer to update the penthouse in a manner consistent with Rudolph's original vision. Their work on 23 Beekman was awarded by the American Institute of Architecture. 

The "steel-framed cage of balconies" frames the skyline. 

The "steel-framed cage of balconies" frames the skyline. 

The residence offers breathtaking views of the East River in addition to its rich history and its coveted address. 

The residence offers breathtaking views of the East River in addition to its rich history and its coveted address. 

The iconic residence was designated a New York City landmark in 2010 by the Landmark Preservation Commission.

The iconic residence was designated a New York City landmark in 2010 by the Landmark Preservation Commission.

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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