Motherwell Residence

In 1945, French émigré architect Pierre Chareau designed a home for the American artist Robert Motherwell in East Hampton, Long Island. Completed in 1947, it was a total departure from the architectural conventions of the day.

Motherwell had purchased a pair of Quonsets for $3,000-one intended as a residence and another as a studio. Chareau combined the Quonsets with other materials and systems of construction such as random windows and a large piece of a glazed wall salvaged from a commercial greenhouse to create an ad-hoc and ungainly hybrid of a building. The hut provided living space with a kitchen and a free-standing fireplace alongside column-free studio space. The house was treasured by architectural historians as Pierre Chareau's only work in this country, and by art historians as an Abstract Expressionist monument. Their protests notwithstanding, it was leveled in 1985.