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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