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“I Live in a ...”



Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

“I live in a … Frank Lloyd Wright on Staten Island”
Frank Cretella, developer and restaurateur

“I grew up on Staten Island, and I would always see two sisters who lived in this house get on the school bus with us. I just remember always feeling like it was very special. A friend of ours lived two doors down and called us when it came on the market 13 years ago. The roof was so bad. Someone had fiberglassed over it. Still, it didn’t scare me. I did one walk-through and made an offer. When I got the call that they accepted, I was watching Jeopardy!, and the question was ‘America’s favorite architect,’ and the answer was Frank Lloyd Wright! So I always felt like it was meant to be. We’re a stop on a bus tour, and everybody gets off and takes pictures. Sometimes you get people who start peering through the windows. One time, I was making coffee and I looked up and there were two people outside waving to me. We’ve had a lot of architecture students ring the bell. Because of the wood construction, the exterior does need a lot of maintenance. This year, we had to repoint all the brick and take down some of the corners that had cracks and rebuild them. I’m not saying I regret it in any way. But this house requires a lot of loving care.”




Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

“I live in a … Philip Johnson in New Canaan, Connecticut”
Cristina A. Ross, architect and author

“When my broker told me about this house ten years ago, she insisted I go see it, not because of who designed it but because of the location. Once I was in the house and I walked around, I was sold. At the time I bought it, Johnson had just passed away; I’d seen him in town many times but never said hello. I always felt a very warm feeling toward him. I went to great lengths to make sure that everything I did to renovate the house was in keeping with his design. I asked a staffer from the Glass House to come over and give me some advice—whether or not I should redo certain things or update them. I was encouraged not to meddle too much. I love that you don’t have to turn on the news to know if it’s raining. When I first moved in, sometimes I’d hear a thump, and I’d walk to the window and see that a bird had hit the glass. They’d look a little dazed, but they’d always get up and fly away.”




Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

“I live in a … Frank Gehry at 8 Spruce Street”
Ross Mopsick, technology executive

“We were definitely intrigued by the Frank Gehry connection, but what really drew us to this particular apartment was the view and the light—we’re on the 75th floor. Before we moved here, we were familiar with Gehry, but I wouldn’t say we were big architecture aficionados. We have a coffee-table book about him now. I’ve never lived anywhere where someone automatically knows which building you mean when you tell them where you are. It’s entertaining when people try to describe it. They say it looks like a sand castle or crumpled-up metal or rippling waves. It’s nice to live somewhere that stands out against the skyline and doesn’t look like everything else.”




Illustration by Murphy Lippincott  

“And I’m the one who lives in a … Richard Neutra in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania”
Feodor Pitcairn, cinematographer and photographer

“I was 25 years old, newly married, and my wife and I had just bought a piece of land in Bryn Athyn. My brother brought Mr. Neutra to our attention; his love of building with nature was very compelling to us. So we got in touch with him and, that fall, he came to meet us at our apartment in Philadelphia. It was nighttime, and we were trying to describe the setting to him, and he said, ‘Well, there’s a full moon out, isn’t there?’ So we drove to look at it. There was no road up to our site, so I took him by the arm and we walked around the edge of the cliff where we ended up building. He sat down on a log and savored the site in the moonlight. He was obviously a very strong personality, but what was special about him was that he was also extremely client-oriented. His whole philosophy was thinking of human beings and how they would interact with the space. The dining-room area where I enjoy my breakfast is almost like a tree house because it’s on the west side of the house and two stories high. Eighty-five percent of the house is glass. Every season is very special: the wildlife, the birds … But it’s time to sell it: I just came up on my 80th birthday. My wife passed away six years ago. I frankly don’t need all this space. I do a lot of traveling, and I’m ready to go back to apartment living.”


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