Mod Men

Mod Men

By Marc Kristal
Todd Goddard and Andrew Mandolene have a spring in their step since completing their restoration of the near-derelict 1957 home of architect Arthur Witthoefft, who says, “I can’t get over what they’ve done—it’s unbelievable.”

In 1957, Arthur Witthoefft was overseeing the construction of his new residence on four-plus acres in the Whippoorwill section of Armonk, New York, when a passerby dropped in. Witthoefft was an architect in the Manhattan office of corporate modernists Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and his design was a lapidary example of Miesian simplicity: a 25-by-95-foot rectangle, composed of a black exposed-steel frame, front and northern elevations clad largely in white glazed brick, and southern and western exposures enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass sliders. At the time, there was little development in semirural Whippoorwill other than a scattering of estates, and the design-forward creation, atop its lush sloping site, made an especially arresting impression. Which prompted the visitor’s question. "This guy came up and said, ‘Pardon me, sir, I don’t understand,’" recalls Witthoefft, now 91 and still in practice. "‘There’s no traffic out here. How will you get any business for the motel you’re building?’"

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