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Zeckendorf House

Client: W. Zeckendorf

Designers: Jacob Berend Bakema

On the southern tip of an elongated, narrow island in the Atlantic Ocean, former land speculator and real estate mogul Zeckendorf plans to build a house. In their proposal for the site, architects Bakema and Stockla design a villa with views over land and sea at each point of the compass.

The extension above the water contains a living and sleeping area. Landing stages for watercraft are ranged below the extension. Access to the garage is provided on the northern side of the round tower. The living room, dining area and bedrooms are situated on the first floor. The glass cupola of the observatory in the villa is ideal for star-gazing. A curved extension projects outward from the villa, above a coral reef; access is provided by enclosed supporting bridges which are also inhabitable.
Although Zeckendorf loves the design and Bakema throws himself wholeheartedly into the project, the house will never be built. This is partly due to uncertainties surrounding the future of the island although it is Zeckendorf’s health that is the deciding factor. The property magnate has a heart attack and dares not take the project any further. Despite spending so much time on the project, and devoting his energies to drawings, calculations, scale models and trips, Bakema takes a cool-headed approach and emphasises the uniqueness of the project.

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