In a 1932 article in Modern Mechanix magazine, the design of this three-story Long Island “skyscraper house” was touted as the “latest in homes,” with an all-metal frame and glass walls. What the story doesn’t mention is that this little house in the ‘burbs was designed as a case study home by noted architects Albert Frey (who spent his early years in Le Corbusier‘s studio) and A. Lawrence Kocher. Known as the Aluminaire House, this diminutive dwelling is among the earliest examples of European-inspired modern architecture in the eastern U.S.. It was included by Philip Johnson in a MoMA exhibit in 1931 that later became the manifesto for the International Style of architecture–one of only six American buildings in the show to exemplify the style.
With the Coachella music festival in the recent spotlight, visions of Palm Springs-style desert homes have been popping up at every turn, and though this little skyscraper house couldn’t be further away geographically, its co-creator Albert Frey is known for establishing the “desert modernism” style exemplified in those iconic Palm Springs homes. And as with many ideas in the ultra-creative 1930s, the construction of this Modernist gem in 1931 was well ahead of its time.
Designed for the Architectural and Allied Arts Exhibition held in New York City in 1931, the home’s cubic shape was unfamiliar to most Americans at the time, though the Modernist schools of architecture–like the Bauhaus in Europe–were gaining exposure in the ’20s and ’30s. […]