Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rafael Vinoly Project on the Market

I recently read in Architectural Digest that this house, located in Ridgefield, Ct, and designed by the famous Uruguayan architect, Rafael Vinoly is presently for sale.  I have driven by this house many many times on my travels through Ridgefield.  And have often wondered who designed it and who owned it. You can't see much from the street because it sits on top of a very steep drive.  The house is perched on a very high piece of land in the northern part of Ridgefield, called Ridgebury.  I'm guessing the house has tremendous views west toward New York State.

But here's the thing that completely blows me away...the house, which is listed for 3.2 Million, cost a staggering 20 Million to build.  The house was built in 1993. It's a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 9760 sf house on 5 acres.  From what I've read it was designed for Alice Lawrence, the widow of a Manhattan real estate mogul, as more of an art gallery than home.

The other amazing thing is the scale of this house.  I've included an aerial photo so you can see the scale of this house in relation to neighboring houses.  I'm wondering how this house was approved by the Ridgefield zoning and/or land use commissions.  It looks to me like there are acres of pavement.  from above it looks more like an airport than a house.  Was it the architect or the home owner who conceived of such a large house in a traditional, rural Connecticut town?

Mrs. Lawrence bequeathed the house to Fairfield University when she passed away a few years ago.  The University is trying to sell the house, but it seems like they can't give the thing away.  The taxes are almost $80,000 per year.  A spokes person from the university was quoted as saying it is not an albatross....huh???

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