By Alex Jones
AN OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD mansion in the heart of New York City, built for a pioneering aviator and inventor who designed cameras used in the APOLLO moon missions, could be yours for just £27m.
Photos of the jaw-dropping five-bedroom property, located just a stone’s throw from Central Park, include a striking shot of the townhouse’s floating mezzanine floor; its radical zigzagging ramps allowing multi-floor access; and a dramatic sitting room which would fit in at any of the finest art galleries or museums in the world.
Another incredible image shows the home’s modernist red granite façade, its simplicity belying the tour-de-force of architecture that lays within.
The Sherman M. Fairchild Mansion, located at 17 East 65th Street in the City That Never Sleeps, is on the market with Christie’s International Real Estate for $35,000,000 (£27,000,000).
Sherman M. Fairchild, a prolific inventor for whom the home is named, commissioned cutting-edge architects George Nelson, a member of the Architecture Committee of the Museum of Modern Art, and William Hamby in 1941 to break the mould of architectural convention to create a home as innovative as he was
They succeeded with a 9,440-square-foot, 25-foot-wide manse that is still an architectural tour de force unlike any other in New York. The non-traditional and open floor plan they conceived split the 100-foot-long lot into two halves, creating a vast internal glassed courtyard in the front, which proved to be a remarkable architectural feat at the time. The private living quarters were beautifully executed and discretely located in the back half.
“This one-of-a-kind townhouse in Lenox Hill offers a rare opportunity for the art enthusiast, in a desirable location, just half a block from both Central Park and Madison Avenue,” said Mr. Roumila, on behalf of Christies International Real Estate.
“The central light-infused atrium offers the perfect setting for entertaining and displaying major art collections.”
Defined by a four-storey great room with an unprecedented span of walls and infused with natural light from a ceiling comprised entirely of glass framed in steel, the townhouse is perfect for displaying large-scale fine art. Floating staircases access public entertaining spaces, including a viewing gallery, a chef’s kitchen and a formal dining room.
A second rear staircase accesses the home’s private living quarters, such as the pampering master suite with two baths and a sitting alcove, an office, a library, a wine cellar, a vault and four additional bedrooms, including a loft aery infused with the same ceiling light that graces the home’s great room. The building’s contemporary frontage was completed in 1981 by postmodern architect Milton Klein, and hint at what contemporary wonders await inside.
Fairchild was the only son and heir of George Winthrop Fairchild, the long-time chairman of IBM. The younger Fairchild oversaw the aeronautics juggernaut, Fairchild Aeronautics, in the WWI era, and held some 30 patents in fields such as camera and audio technology. Fairchild is also responsible for inventing the first synchronised camera shutter and flash as well as developing new technologies for aerial cameras that were later used on the Apollo Missions.
He was a life-long bachelor, playboy, and jazz enthusiast, who enjoyed entertaining A-listers from the world over in his showcase home.
Famed composer Hoagy Carmichael was a frequent guest and played on one of the two white Steinway pianos Fairchild had wired to his recording studio. Several jazz albums from the day credited Fairchild Studios as a recording partner.