Hugging the shores of the Long Island Sound, Ulrich Franzen’s ‘Castle House’ typifies the school of East Coast modernism established by the generation of post-Bauhaus architects at work in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s when personal expression and dramatic effects were no longer illicit. This house was built on a historic rock outcropping adjacent to an eighteenth century landmark lighthouse facing the sea. This modern classic, almost a fallen victim to total demolition, has undergone a complete renovation and preservation by SchappacherWhite Architecture DPC. Ulrich Franzen’s vision for the house, which was completed in 1964, represents the forefront of early 1960’s residential design. The home’s distinctive feature is its dramatic free floating glass living room pavilion with cantilevered paraboloid vaults and flanking service wings. The pavilion’s cypress butterfly ceiling has been restored and all new furnishings selected for the home, including a 14′ custom designed Nakashima dining table. To remedy a possible "flaw" in the original design that sought to direct views away from the water, the architects introduced two new sets of 9′ tall sliding glass panels into the central building, replacing solid walls. The new windows now provide stunning vistas across the landscaped pool area and onto the Sound beyond from both the master bedroom and kitchen/family room. The bedroom wing was extended to accommodate the size of the client’s family and a staircase added to a lower level playroom. It was not an easy exercise matching the rigor of the existing scheme. The more it was studied, the more the architects became enthralled with the intricate and complex geometries of the details. Every line in the house was considered, every detail obsessed over, so that there is continuity and the ability to recognize the original design intent.
Ulrich Franzen "Castle House"