Spend a night in Philip Johnson’s mid-century modern Wolfhouse

Spend a night in Philip Johnson’s mid-century modern Wolfhouse

Wolfhouse, one of Philip Johnson’s mid-century modern residential pieces, is now available as a vacation rental via booking platforms such as Airbnb and Plumguide.

Located in Newburgh, New York, right by the Hudson River, Wolfhouse was commissioned by Benjamin V Wolf in 1949, then a prominent departmental store owner downtown.

It wasn’t until recently that the classic site was purchased and restored by like minded creatives Jiminie Ha and Jeremy Parker, who reimagined the place not only as a nature retreat but also an inclusive cultural space with year-round arts, design, and architecture programming.

“The history of Newburgh itself is super complex, and to have Philip Johnson added to the mix led to our intrigue of the home,” say the owners, who bought Wolfhouse in 2020 and proceeded with the meticulous restoration during the next three years that followed.

The four-bedroom, three-baths unit bore much resemblance to the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, Johnson’s private residence where he spent his final days in; in which the storied works showcased the preeminent architect’s hallmark style: open-plan homes with seamless circulation, and plate glass walls to take in impeccable views of the surrounding landscape.

In Wolfhouse’s case, fans of mid-century architecture and the bucolic surroundings in upstate New York are afforded the aerial spectacle atop a hillside just north of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, where the panorama over the river changes just as the seasons do throughout the year.

Besides poring over original floor plans archived at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library in Columbia University in their attempt to reinstate Wolfhouse to its original condition, Ha and Parker also explored creative licence in sustainability and inventive self-sufficiency for the place.

It is something they prioritised in their respective practices: Ha’s award-winning New York-based agency With Projects, and Parker’s architecture-, historic preservation- and interiors-focused Good People; and they extended this into every detail of the home’s rehabilitation and interior design by avoiding “new” materials through salvaged architectural pieces, and sourcing vintage furnishings to complement lasting materials.

One of the materials was steel, a common go-to in mid-century kitchen cabinetries, which led them to their collaborative effort with USM Modular Furniture in creating a sustainably built kitchen fully constructed of pre-owned and recycled parts.

“We recognise the harmful effects of planned obsolescence. It’s our responsibility as designers to lead with smart sustainability at the forefront of our practice, not creating more waste, but working with what we already have,” explains Ha, the current senior director of graphic design at the Guggenheim Museum.

Like Parker, she is an active member of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, and has plans to host year-round exhibitions, residencies, events and lectures at Wolfhouse in exploring the intersection between digital and physical arts.


Originally published in Tatler
Text by Celeste Goh
Photos by Chris Daniele



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