paul rudolph's modulighter building

One of the highlights of our trip to NYC last year was stopping in for a visit to Paul Rudolph's Modulighter Building. Rudolph is primarily known for his Brutalist buildings found across the country, but his more human-scaled architecture was much different, a neoplastic intersection of planes with a complex Loosian intersection of interior volumes (Rudolph's own townhouse in NYC has no less than 27 different floor levels).
Designed and built between 1989 and 1994 with the addition of the fourth and fifth floors based on Rudolph's drawings between 2007 and 2015, the building currently houses Modulighter, a lighting storefront that Rudolph co-established with Ernst Wagner, Wagner's home, and the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation. The interior is amazingly complex but the uniformity of white and transparency between spaces and with the outdoors calms the complexity, turning insanely complicated open stairwells, shelving, and floor levels into soothing sculpture. You feel like you're floating through a magical cloud as you stroll through the building.
We attended a First Friday Open House (serendipitously in town for it), which is really more of a house party for friends held by the client, owner and partner, Ernst Wagner, with wine and finger food. Wagner quickly noticed that we were newbies and heartily greeted and welcomed us into his home. This is the only interior residential space designed by Rudolph open to the public, and it is well worth a visit, both to experience remarkable architecture but also to partake in a wee bit of the NYC party scene.

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