When Renovation Means Erasing the Past

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When Renovation Means Erasing the Past

Postby Admin » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:57 pm

Sign of the Times | When Renovation Means Erasing the Past

For the first time in history, the more money you’ve got, the emptier your home is. The Victorians were criticized for their “horror vacui,” the fear of empty space that led to rooms cluttered with bookcases, pictures and bric-a-brac. The new rich suffer from the opposite condition: “amor vacui,” or the love of empty space. Across the world — from London to New York, from Paris to Florence — the new tycoons’ houses have become vacuums.

To get the nihilist look, historic architecture is being destroyed by radical alteration or demolition. One beachside home in the Hamptons makes an instructive example. The site began life with a Henry F. du Pont mansion, an elegant exercise in Georgian proportion. In the 1980s, it was given a makeover from hell by Barry Trupin, a financier later convicted of tax evasion. Trupin added a 20-foot waterfall to the back of the house and installed an indoor shark tank and private burro zoo. With its jumble of witch’s-hat towers and mansard roofs, the house would have made a fine home away from home for the Addams Family or Norman Bates’s mother.

Calvin Klein came along in 2003, and eventually went through a reported $75 million on the property, and no fewer than three architects. First he tried to remodel the Trupin monstrosity, before giving up and razing it four years ago to build the ultimate glass box. It took a $350,000 life-size mock-up of the house for him to realize that people could peer into his shower from the beach. So he ordered some bushes.

Read more at:
http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013 ... -the-past/
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