paul rudolph's iconic modernist 'walker guest house' to be auctioned at sotheby's
 

paul rudolph's iconic modernist 'walker guest house' to be auctioned at sotheby's

designed by paul rudolph, one of america’s most influential architects of the modernist era, the walker guest house will be offered in sotheby’s december auction. the historic project is hailed as one of the most important buildings of the architect’s career, designed in response to mie van der rohe’s international style work, the farnsworth house. the walker guest house had been commissioned in 1952 by dr. walter walker for his family’s land on sanibel island, where it has remained since. now in need of a new owner and preservationist, the house and its original furnishings are estimated to sell for $700,000 — $1 million.

walker guest house sothebys
image courtesy of sotheby’s

 

 

to be offered at sotheby’s december auction of important design, the walker guest house represents the first solo project by architect paul rudolph. in plan, the project is a groundbreaking investigation on the relationship between interior and exterior space. covering 576 square feet and elevated on a twenty foot square platform, the structure is built of wood, steel, and glass — expressive of a thoughtful composition of line, plane, and volume. the house is completely moveable, allowing for its relocation to any site as decided by its next owner.

walker guest house sothebys
image courtesy of sotheby’s

 

 

unlike many other icons of the international style, the transformative project offers occupants the ability for both privacy and openness. the project has been referred to as the ‘cannonball house’ with its signature system of wood panel shutters weighted in place by suspended red cannonballs. the design represents a comprehensive integration of functionalism and architecture, demonstrating rudolph’s central principle of adaptability.

walker guest house sothebys
image courtesy of sotheby’s

 

 

pulitzer prize-winning architectural critic paul goldberger comments:if the walker guest house could not be preserved in situ, the next best thing [the walker family decided] would be to sell it to someone who would give it a new life somewhere else. it will almost surely leave sanibel island, but the trade-off will be knowing that one of the most important designs by one of the 20th century’s most important architects — one that, by its nature, is not specific to its site, and could be set down almost anywhere — will be preserved.

walker guest house sothebys
image © ezra stoller esto

walker guest house sothebys
image © ezra stoller esto

walker guest house sothebys
image © ezra stoller esto

walker guest house sothebys
image © ezra stoller esto

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