Welcome to the Archives of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation. The purpose of this online database is to function as a tool for scholars, students, architects, preservationists, journalists and other interested parties. The archive consists of photographs, slides, articles and publications from Rudolph’s lifetime; physical drawings and models; personal photos and memorabilia; and contemporary photographs and articles.

Unless otherwise noted, all images and drawings are copyright © The Estate of Paul Rudolph and The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation. Please speak with a representative of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation to get permission to use any drawings or photos. Drawings, sketches and other materials produced by Rudolph’s architectural office at the Library of Congress are maintained there for preservation, but the intellectual property rights belong to the Paul Rudolph Estate and Ernst Wagner, founder of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation.

Hirsch Residence.jpg

LOCATION
Address: 101 East 63rd Street
City: New York
State: New York
Zip Code: 10065
Nation: United States
Google Maps Address: 40.76533, -73.96729

STATUS
Type: Residence
Status: Built

TECHNICAL DATA
Date(s): 1966
Site Area:
Floor Area:
Height:
Floors (Above Ground):
Building Cost:

PROFESSIONAL TEAM
Client: Alexander Hirsch; Halston
Architect: Paul Rudolph
Associate Architect: 
Landscape:
Structural:
MEP: Caretsky, Mechanical Engineers
QS/PM:

SUPPLIERS
Contractor:
Subcontractor(s):

Hirsch Residence

  • Situated between a Federal style church and a traditional apartment house, this townhouse was initially designed and built for Alexander Hirsch and Lewis Turner—but it’s most famous resident & owner was the American fashion designer, Halston.

  • Townhouses of unabashedly Modern design were, in that era, rare in that neighborhood (indeed, anywhere in the city).

  • Because Rudolph departed from the typical approach to designing the face of a NYC townhouse (which generally manifested as solid brick or masonry, with openings in a gridded pattern). Even Philip Johnson’s design for a townhouse, in the adjacent neighborhood, did not greatly depart from that formula.

  • Steel beams, columns, and panels, infilled with glass, are the architectural signature of Mies van der Rohe—but that master hardly ever diverged from arranging them in a homogenous lattice. By contrast, Rudolph’s didn’t just lay-out this façade—he sculpted it, pushing the elements into different planes, and using subtle asymmetries, to give a serene aliveness to this otherwise understated “citizen of the street”.

  • For Rudolph, this sculpting—merging Mies and Mondrian, but taking them to a more sophisticated level of visual complexity—would be further explored in the exteriors of the additions to his own residence at 23 Beekman—and would reach an ultimate rich expression, two decades after the Hirsch Residence, in the Modulightor Building.

  • While this house’s exterior may be a precursor of Paul Rudolph’s future ventures, the interiors rely on the “lab results” from his previous residential experiments. This is particularly true when one compares Hirsch to Rudolph’s New Haven home: one can see the precedents for the cantilevered stairs, the dramatic double-height socializing space (with a matchingly large-scaled artwork), a cavalier attitude to railings, and a broad wall of glazing onto a private (and in both cases, Rudolph-designed) court.

A world of its own, inward looking and secretive, is created in a relatively small volume of space in the middle of New York City. Varying intensities of light are juxtaposed and related to structures within structures. Simple materials (plaster, paint) are used, but the feeling is of great luxuriousness because of the space. The one exposed facade reveals the interior arrangement of volumes by offsetting each floor and room in plan and section.
— Paul Rudolph in Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl, and Gerhard Schwab. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. New York: Praeger, 1970. P. 80
At first you want to change everything when you move into a house like this. But the house is such a work of art you end up giving into it.
— Halston in Halston's Hideaway by Paul Goldberg, The New York Times July 24, 1977
I know this house was designed for somebody else, but I really feel it was built for me.
— Halston
Standing inside it, one cannot help but think of Halston’s own designs, since the ideas which underlie the architecture parallel the designers own themes.
— Paul Goldberger, the New York Times
This is the way I wish my house looked. It looked so rich at Halston’s, so many orchids, so cool…
— Andy Warhol

DRAWINGS - Design Drawings / Renderings

DRAWINGS - Construction Drawings

DRAWINGS - Shop Drawings

PHOTOS - Project Model

PHOTOS - During Construction

PHOTOS - Completed Project

PHOTOS - Current Conditions

LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION

RELATED DOWNLOADS

PROJECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
“Article on planned conversion by architect P. Rudolph of run-down carriage house.” il. New York Times (19 February 1967): VIII, 1:7.

Chermayeff, Ivan. Observations on American Architecture. New York: Viking, 1972. il. p. 89.

“Chronological list of works by Paul Rudolph, 1946-1974.” il., plan. Architecture and Urbanism 49 (January 1975): 162.

Futagawa, Yukio, ed. Global Interior: Houses in U.S.A., 1. Tokyo: A.D.A. Edita, 1971. il., plan, sec. pp. 160-167.

Goldberger, Paul. The City Observed: New York. New York: Random House, 1979. il. pp. 234-235.

“Hirsch residence.” il., plan, sec. Architecture and Urbanism 80 (July 1977): 64-65.

Rudolph, Paul. The Architecture of Paul Rudolph. Introduction by Sybil Moholy-Nagy. New York: Praeger, 1970. il., plans, sec. pp. 80-83.

Paul Rudolph, Dessins D’Architecture. Fribourg: Office du Livre, 1974. plan, sec. pp. 40-41.

Smith, Herbert L. “Record houses of 1970.” il. (pt. col.), plan, sec., port. Architectural Record 147 (Mid-May 1970): 42-45.