Historian discovers ‘lost’ modernist house


The legacy of architect Gregory Ain has a number of elements, including the demonstration that quality design and socially responsible housing could be one and the same. A 2017 article at Artsy convincingly argued that Ain never really had his due, in part because of his run against the FBI during Red Scare. One element of this, the article notes, concerned a high-level house he had designed for display at MoMA in 1950 – which disappeared after the house’s stint in the MoMA garden ended.

How exactly can a fantastically designed modernist house disappear? That’s a great question, and it’s a question that now has an answer. AT The New York Times, Eve M. Kahn ventured into the history of the house – and made contact with the architectural historian who located the famous house.

It would be George Smart, who runs the design-centric site USModernist – who has a vast archive on the work of Ain. Smart has spent time in the MoMA archives, eventually finding out where the house is now. “I couldn’t believe New York’s most famous house in 1950 would just disappear,” he told the Time.

The house is now located in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Its owner, Mary Kelly, bought it with her husband in 1979; she was a longtime fan of Modernist homes and said she was thrilled to find an example of a house for sale. All in all, the article makes it clear that this house has found its ideal inhabitant – someone who both relishes the design involved in making it happen and who used the distinctive components that Ain and his collaborators installed at the. interior.


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