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Pei Residence

Copyright Robert Damora
Copyright Robert Damora

Pei built a weekend home for his family on a 14-acre densely wooded site about 30 miles outside New York City. A clear response to Philip Johnson’s Glass House (1948-49) and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House (1951), the 990-square-foot rigorously modular structure combines East and West with simplicity and an economy of means to satisfy both utilitarian and aesthetic goals.

Industrial beams of laminated pine were built up with cross-layered cantilevers in the fashion of traditional Chinese temples to create a house within a house: a small winter retreat with fireplace and radiant-heat floors encircled by a larger summer home with a generously sized screened-in deck. Free from client constraints, the modernist house evidences Pei’s lifelong commitment to create architecture in balance with nature. It is one of very few private residences designed by I.M. Pei, only three of which were built (the Tandy House and the Slayton Residence).


Elevation and plan / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Design: I.M. Pei; realization assisted by Pershing Wong