CHARLES GWATHMEY, FAIA (1938-2009)
Gwathmey was a native of Charlotte NC. His mother was the sister of Walter Hook, a respected Charlotte architect whose work included Mercy Hospital, Carolinas Medical Center, Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, and the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Salisbury. Gwathmey's grandfather was C. C. Hook who designed various projects at Duke University over 30 years.
After his family moved to New York City, he attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, graduating in 1956. He studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, receiving a Master of Architecture degree in 1962 at the latter. At Yale, he studied under Paul Rudolph and won both The William Wirt Winchester Travelling Fellowship as outstanding graduate and a Fulbright Grant. From 1962-1963 he worked for Candilis Josic Woods in Paris; from 1963-1964 at George Nemeny Architects in New York, and from 1964-1966 for Edward Larrabee Barnes in New York.
In 1966 he rose to fame for a house and studio for his parents in Amagansett, NY. Gwathmey was not a licensed architect at the time. When he did take the professional licensing exam, he was surprised to see a multiple-choice question on the test that asked "Which of these is the organic house?" The choices included the house he designed for his parents. He wanted to answer that the organic house was his, but in order to pass the exam he chose Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House. He knew that was the answer they wanted. He passed.
Gwathmey went into partnership with Richard Henderson to form Gwathmey and Henderson, Architects. In 1968, the firm became Gwathmey Henderson and Siegel Architects. After Henderson's departure in 1970, the now-iconic Gwathmey Siegel & Associates was established. He was a partner there until death in 2009 of esophogeal cancer.
Gwathmey was one of the New York Five (plus Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, John Hejduk and Richard Meier) who dominated avant-garde American architecture in the 1970s. They were the subject of a meeting of CASE (Conference of Architects for the Study of the Environment) held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1969 and subsequently a book published in 1972.
Gwathmey has been honored with the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1970) and elected to the Academy of Fellows (1976). In 1983, he won the Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the AIA. In 1985, he received the first Yale Alumni Arts Award from the Yale School of Architecture. Three years later, the Guild Hall Academy of Arts awarded Gwathmey its Lifetime Achievement Medal in Visual Arts. In 1990 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Society of Architects.
From 1965 through 1991, Gwathmey taught at Pratt Institute, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Texas, and the University of California at Los Angeles. He was Davenport Professor and Bishop Professor at Yale, and the Eliot Noyes Visiting Professor at Harvard University. In 2005, he served as the William A. Bernoudy Resident in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome.
His most famous commercial design is the 1992 renovation/addition of FrankLloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York, left. He married Bette-Ann Gwathmey in 1974. She donated his archives to Yale University in 2010.
Additional Resources: 1980 Interview * 2000 Interview
His North Carolina buildings are:
1964 - Gwathmey's first
house commission was the Gerald Miller Residence,
1966 - The Robert and Rosalie Gwathmey Residence and Studio, 122 Bluff Road, Amagansett NY on Long Island. Gwathmey became famous designing these buildings for his parents. Costing $35,000, the Gwathmey houses attracted throngs of visitors and was consistently named one of the most influential buildings of the modern era. Built by John Caramagna. In 2001, Gwathmey inherited the house from his mother and moved in. He began a renovation that included covering the original concrete floor with marble. Stairs and dining room photos by Scott Francis/Esto.
1968 - The Joseph Sedacca Residence, 19 Northwest Landing Road, Northwest Harbor NY. 1100 square feet on three acres. Built by John Caramagna. Won a 1968 AIA NY Honor Award. Sold by Sedacca to Paul A. Amador in 1993. Color photos by Paul Amador.
1968 - The Roger Straus III Residence, 3558 Purchase Street, Purchase NY. 6566 sf. Won a 1968 AIA National Honor Award. An Architectural Record House of 1968. Sold by Nina Straus in October 2007.
1969 - The Jack D. and Barbara Weiss Goldberg Residence, 119 Wyneding Hill Road, Manchester CT. 2367 sf. Was an Architectural Record House in 1969. Featured in the New York Times in 1969. Mrs. Goldberg remarried; she passed away in 2010. Transferred to her new husband, Robert P. Tucker.
1969 - The Kenneth Cooper House, 35 Bufflehead Lane, Orleans MA. Designed with Richard Henderson and Robert Siegel. Top left photo by Bill Maris. 1263 sf. Commissioned 1968. Built by Anderson and Murray. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1970. Sold in 2003 to Williams and Dorothy Carr.
1971 - The John Steel Residence, aka Steel Residence I, Surfside Drive, Bridgehampton NY. House on the left, above. Commissioned 1968. Was enlarged (addition on right near pool) and a beach footbridge and swimming pool also added. Destroyed and replaced by a new owner.
1970 - The Eskilson Residence, Roxbury CT (unbuilt).
1972 - The Marshall and Maureen Cogan Residence, five acres at 34 Terbell Lane, Hook Pond, East Hampton NY. Commissioned 1971. A rectangular pavilion intersected with three ramps and a living area overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Marshall Cogan was the former owner of Knoll. Won an national AIA Award and a AIANY Award. Was an Architectural Record House. Photos by Ezra Stoller/Esto. Sold to Joan and Joseph Cullman, who was the head of Philip Morris. Sold to Gary Fuhrman, who had it destroyed and a new house built.
1973 - The Paul and Kay Breslow Apartment, aka the New York Apartment, 1016 5th Avenue #14A, New York NY. Designed for a writer and his wife. They later co-authored a book, Charles Gwathmey & Robert Siegel: Residential Works. Bottom photo by Tom Yee
1973 - The Elia-Basch House, aka the Peter J. Basch House, 17 Wildwood, Califon NJ. The project architect was Timothy Daniel Wood. Includes a pipe organ as Basch was a well-known organist. Plans were featured in Architectural Record, July 1974. Sold in 1983 to Stas and Sharon M. Dec. The house is almost unrecognizable as a Gwathmey creation due to several stylistically unfortunate modifications and additions, including a turret (color aerial photos). Transferred in 2013 to Sharon M. Cummings-Dec.
1973 - The Maurice and Marilyn Cohn Residence, 54 Sandpiper Lane, Amagansett NY. Commissioned 1972. An oceanfront dune site with a steep slope to the cul-de-sac access road. Won an AIANY Design Award in 1974. Bottom photo by David Franzen. For sale in 2012.
1973 - The David Geffen Residence, Malibu CA. Unbuilt.
1975 - The Sangner House, Orange NJ. Unbuilt. Commissioned 1973.
1975 - The Kay Unger Apartment, 136 East 36th Street, New York NY. Featured in Architectural Record in 1976.
1976 - The Charof House, 15 Sycamore Lane, Montauk NY. Commissioned 1974.
Sold to Ted Stone in 2001 or 2002. Color photo by James Wilkins.
1977 - The Buettner Residence, 67 Johnsontown Road, aka Stony Brook Drive, Sloatsburg NY. Commissioned 1974. Was rented out for 20+ years; owned since 2001 by son Robert Buettner.
1976 - The Melville I. Haupt Residence, 43 Gilberts Path, Amagansett NY. Top right photo by Marvin McGrath. Featured in Architectural Record May 1979.
1976 - The Weitz House, Dune Road, Quogue NY.
1977 - The Harry Kislevetz Residence, 10 Lott Avenue, Westhampton NY on Long Island. Left photo by Norman McGrath. Commissioned 1974. Built from within a shell of a Spanish-style house.
1977 - The Richard and Thea Benenson House, 95 Greenhaven Road, Rye NY. Commissioned 1976. Won a AIANY Design Award. Was a 1980 Architectural Record house. According to Richard Benenson, the house had no closets but had dressing rooms customized to the owners' clothes. Sold in early 1980's to Michael Silberkleit. Pool added later. There have been other renovations as well.
1977 - The Stephen and Nan Swid Apartment Renovation, 635 Park Avenue, New York NY. 3400 sf. Color photo by Norman McGrath. Renovated again by Gwathmey Siegel in 1983, bottom photo by Paul Warchol. Featured in Progressive Architecture, June 1, 1985.
1978 - The John S. and Carol K. Crowley Residence, 627 Round Hill Road, Greenwich CT. Commissioned 1977. Sold in 1996 to Gerald Friedman. Sold later in 1996 to Robert H. Shaffer. For sale 2011-2012.
1979 - The David Geffen Apartment I,
783 5th Avenue (17th floor), New
Around 2001 - The David Geffen
783 5th Avenue,
New York NY.
Another unit in the same building. Commissioned 1996.
Project architect was Kang Chang.
1980 - The Lloyd Taft House, around
OH. Commissioned 1978. Sold to the Olson family. Minor
alterations by Carl Strauss Associates around 1990 and by
Stewart Shillito Maxwell, Jr. later in the 1990s. For sale
1979 - The Hines Residence,
Martha's Vineyard MA. Unbuilt.
1979 - The François de Menil House,
19 Crestwood Drive,
1979 - The Block Residence,
Wilmington NC. Unbuilt.
1980 - The Lloyd Taft House, around 4412 Drake Road, Cincinnati OH. Commissioned 1978. Sold to the Olson family. Minor alterations by Carl Strauss Associates around 1990 and by Stewart Shillito Maxwell, Jr. later in the 1990s. For sale in 2012.
1979 - The Hines Residence, Martha's Vineyard MA. Unbuilt.
1979 - The François de Menil House, 19 Crestwood Drive, Houston TX.
1979 - The Block Residence, Wilmington NC. Unbuilt.
1979 - The Viereck Residence, 144 Fresh Pond Road, Amagansett NY.
1981 - The Arango Apartment, New York NY. Photos by Norman McGrath.
1981 - The deMenil Residence, Santa Monica CA.
1981 - The deMenil Residence, New York NY. Unbuilt.
1982 - The Robert and Kathy Steinberg Apartment,
944 5th Avenue, New
1983 - The Francois deMenil Residence, aka Toad Hall, 428 Further Lane, East Hampton North NY. Commissioned in 1979. Sold in 1988 to Larry Gagosian. Renovated by Gwathmey in 1990. 11000 square feet. There was a significant fire in the house in June 2011. There was a fire in the guest house in 2014.
1984 - The Sagner Residence, Essex Fells NJ. Unbuilt.
1985 - The Steven Spielberg Apartment, 52nd floor of the Trump Tower, 721 Fifth Avenue, New York NY. Commissioned 1983. 2500 square feet.
1986 - The Barry and Patricia Gimelstob Residence,
75 Sand Spring Road, Harding Township, New Vernon NJ.
1987 - The John R. and Julia Opel Residence, 297 Adirondack Drive, Shelburne VT. Commissioned 1985. 7000 square feet on 12 acres. Most photos by Richard Bryant/Arcaid. Bottom two photos by Peter Close. The Opels sold it in 2007 to Adirondack Drive LLC. Unbelievably, the new owners destroyed the house in 2010.
1988 - The Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw Residence, 110 Apaquogue Road, Georgica Pond, East Hampton NY. 5000 square feet on six acres. Second photo by Richard Bryant. Commissioned 1985. There are four buildings by Gwathmey besides the main residence, bottom photos: two guest houses and a caretaker house.
1988 - The Charles Gwathmey
Apartment, his own at
1115 5th Avenue, New York NY.
1989 - The Robert Steinberg Residence, Gracie Lane, Apaquogue, East Hampton NY. Bottom photo by Steven Brooke. Commissioned 1986. 8500 square feet on four acres. Sold to Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. Renovated by Kang Chang, a former Gwathmey Siegel associate who started his own firm in 2010.
1990 - The Cary F. Staller Residence, aka Old Field House, 45 Crane Neck, East Setauket NY.
1990 - The Jack and Phyllis Rosen Townhouses, 16 and 18 East 85th Street, New York NY. Commissioned 1988.
1992 - The Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg House, 7996 Roamer Court, Park City UT. 14,000 square feet. Designed with Rick Otto. Interior decoration by Naomi Leff. Built by New Star General Contractors. President Clinton stayed here in 1998. In 2007, Goo was ordered to pay Katzenberg $2.17 million to replace faulty heating hoses. It was Goodyear's largest settlement to an individual homeowner at the time, as the house was finished with rare and expensive materials which were destroyed in the restoration process.
1992 - The Charles and Brenda (Bunny) Koppelman Penthouse Apartment Renovation, aka the Sobel Apartment, located in the Verona Building, 32 East 64th Street #10W, New York NY. Gwathmey took it down to the studs for a complete makeover. Sold in 2002 to Jonathan S. Sobel and Marcia Dunn, who commissioned Gwathmey for a smaller renovation. Photos by Durston Saylor. Bottom photo by Chester Higgins Jr. Sold in 2012 to Stephen J. Meringoff.
1994 - The Thomas and Christina Bechtler Residence, aka the Zumikon Residence, Rigistrasse and Rigiweg Roads, Zumikon, Switzerland. Overlooks Lake Zurich. Commissioned 1990. 10225 square feet.
1994 - The Chen Residence, Taipei Taiwan. Commissioned 1990. A massive 40,000 square feet. Unbuilt.
1995 - The Alan and Carol Pomerantz Apartment, 1185 Park Avenue 5C, New York NY. Gutted down to the studs for its two-year renovation. 2300 sf. Top photo by Hiroko Matsuike. Photos by Paul Warchol. For sale in 2010.
1995 - The Steven Spielberg Apartment II,
145 / 146 Central Park
1997 - The Jerry and Ilene Kosberg Residence, aka the San Onofre Residence, 1600 San Onofre Drive, Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles CA. Consulting Electrical Engineers: Athans Enterprises. Commissioned 1993. 18000 square feet on 1.5 acres. Jerry Kosberg, also owns 1571 Casale down the hill next door.
1997 - The Michael Dell Residence, aka Villa Austin, aka the Hilltop House, 3400 Toro Canyon Road, Austin TX. Overlooks Lake Austin. The complex is 33,000 square feet, has 8 bedrooms and bathrooms, 13 half baths, a conference room, a restaurant quality kitchen, an exercise room, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, cabanas, and a five-level terraced lawn on 85 acres. Commissioned 1993.
2000 - The Ronald Meyer Residence, aka the Malibu Residence, 27600 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu CA. Commissioned 1993. The top photo was an early 1990's design that was scaled back for a second, smaller version actually built.
2001 - The Arie and Rebecka Belldegrun Residence, aka Casa Vecchia, aka the Bel Air Residence, 811 Strada Vecchia Road, Los Angeles CA. 15,000 square feet. Sold to Stuart P. Ross and the Belldegrun Descendants Trust. Top and bottom photos by Scott Frances/Esto.
2001 - The Jerry Seinfeld Apartment, aka the Central Park West Apartment, Beresford Hotel, 19th and 20th floors, 211 Central Park West, New York NY. 3800 sf. Photos by Christopher Wild. Seinfeld bought the unit from Isaac Stern. Planning began in 1998, construction began in 1999. The project architect was Kang Chang.
2002 - The Alvin and Joan Einbender Apartment, aka the Gymnasium Apartment, 240 Centre Street 5H, aka the Police Building, New York NY. Located in the 1909 building's former gymnasium. The NY Police Dept. moved out in 1973 and the building was converted to luxury condominiums in 1987. There are 55 apartments on six floors. This unit took four years to completeand was the only apartment Gwathmey designed from the ground up. 6600 square feet. On the market since May 2008. Photos by Paul Warchol.
2002 - The Ron and Ann Pizzuti Apartment, aka the Miranova Apartment,
aka House on the Roof,
1 Miranova Place
2003 - The Reza Abbaszadeh Residence, aka the Belvedere Residence, aka At The Water's Edge, 445 Belvedere Avenue, Belvedere Tiburon, CA. Photos by Mark Schwartz. Four bedrooms, six bathrooms, over 8000 sf, and an elevator. Sold in 2007 to Settling, Ltd.
2004 - The Central Park South Apartment, one floor of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, 50 Central Park South, New York NY. 8000 sf. Project architect was Celeste Umpierre. Photos by Scott Frances/Esto. Built by Bernsohn and Fetner.
2005 - The Astor Place Tower at 445 Lafayette Street, New York NY. The 270-foot, 21-story asymmetrical tower features a collection of 39 loft residences. Every apartment interior was designed by Gwathmey Siegel along with Ismael Leyva Architects.
2005 - The Jonathan Sobel and Marsha Dunn Residence, 733 Daniels Lane, Sagaponack NY. Includes deeded ocean access, 8000 sf. Landscape design by Ed Hollander on 2.5 acres. 7 bedrooms and 11.5 bathrooms. Sold in 2014.
2006 - The Mitchell Rales Residence and Museum, aka Glenstone, 12002 Glen Road, Potomac MD. Closed to the public except by special arrangement. The 200+ acre site, top photo, includes the Rales House and Guest house (second ahd third photos), and across the lake is his private art museum (last exterior photo by Scott Francis/Esto). Structural engineering by Severud Associates. Built by Harold Gray of Lifecraft, Inc. Civil Engineering by A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. Bottom interior photos of the museum by Zhulong.com.
2007 - The Michael and Susan Dell House, aka the 6D Ranch Lake House, aka the 6D Home, Commons Ford Ranch Park Road on Lake Austin, in Bee Cave TX, northwest of Austin TX. 6380 square feet. Owned by 6D Ranch LTD, controlled by DFI Resources LLC, belonging to Michael and Susan Dell.
311 West Broadway, Townhouse TH-2, New York NY.
2008 - The Steve Cohen Penthouse Apartment Renovation, aka Apartment 51/52 West, the 51st and 52nd floor of the Bloomberg Building, 731 Lexington Avenue, aka One Beacon Court, aka 151 East 58th Street, New York NY. About 8400 sf. Merger of two apartments vertically into one, requiring floor removal. Photos by Paul Warchol. Built by Bernsohn and Fetner. For sale in 2013.
2009 - 240 Park Avenue South, New York NY. Commissioned 2004. 54 luxury residential units with office and retail below. Photo by Paul Warchol.
2009 - The M-1 Apartment at the Plaza Hotel, New York NY.
2009 - The W Hoboken Hotel and Residences, 225 River Street, Hoboken NJ. 40 residences in a hotel tower.
2010 - aka the Aspen Residence, aka the Three Trees Residence, 1 Toby Lane, Aspen CO. Commissioned 2006. Owned by Three Trees LLC, a holding company run by Warren Kanders. Project architect Dirk Kramer. On the side of Shadow Mountain. 15000sf. Built by Harriman Construction. Structural Engineers, KL&A, Inc. Mechanical by Beaudin Ganze Consulting Engineers. Lighting by HDLC Architectural Lighting Design. 9.4 acres.
2012 - Gwathmey's last residential design, 323 Park Avenue South, New York NY. The condos from Tessler Developments contain 16 half–floor residences — 1,350 square feet each.
Sources include: The New York Times, Mario Roy, Virtual Globetrotting, AIANY, Gwathmey Siegel, Conde Nast Traveler, Blockshopper Long Island, In Search of Clarity: The Architecture of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects.