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Collection by Marc Kristal

Techbuilt House

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The first residence built in Tuxedo Park, New York, after World War II wasn’t one of the Shingle-style mansions that proliferated there after the tycoon Pierre Lorillard IV developed the village as a high-society retreat in the 1880s. Instead, on 1.3 acres (the garden/tennis court of an old estate), architect Carl Koch, a prefab pioneer, erected one of his earliest “Techbuilt Houses,” a 2,400-square-foot four-bedroom home constructed largely from standardized four-by-eight-foot modules attached to a post-and-beam frame—a simple, efficient and affordable structure that went up in a brisk three weeks in January 1956. “To pull that off is amazing,” says architect Gilles Depardon, who with partner Kathryn Ogawa recently completed the house’s renovation.

Depardon describes Koch’s four-by-eight module (based on the industry standard for a sheet of plywood) as “a sandwich –…
The structure’s exterior, however, finished in redwood siding—chosen for its sturdiness and resistance to rot—“had held…
“We took the terrace off because it made the lower level really dark,” Depardon explains. “Also, there was an…
The architects greatly admired the structure’s siting, not only for the way it captured southern and eastern light…
“Originally there was a wall right down the middle of the lower floor where the pole is,” Depardon explains. “It was…
Depardon and Ogawa inserted a new kitchen and designed its rectilinear island. The dining area had been an enclosed…
On the second floor, the architects maintained the existing exposed post-and-beam structure. “That’s an amazingly small…
“We left the roof exactly as it was, with the old four-by-eight-foot modules,” Depardon explains, noting that the…
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom…
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