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Avery Library Historic Preservation and Urban Planning

Collected by: Columbia University Libraries

Archived since: Jan, 2010


A collection of websites chosen by subject specialists from the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. The collection's principal thematic focus is documenting the evolution of the built environment and public spaces through the interaction of historic preservation efforts and new development projects within urban planning debates, particularly in and around New York City.

Subject:   Arts & Humanities Government - Cities,  Architecture ,  Historic preservation City planning Parks Public spaces

Matt Kahn House

Collected by: Stanford University Archives

Archived since: May, 2015


The Matt and Lyda Kahn house is being offered for sale this Spring. This mid-century masterpiece is the result of a collaboration between A. Quincy Jones - an extraordinary architect; Joseph Eichler - an enlightened developer; and Matt Kahn - a refined client and talented designer. Every detail of the house reflects the excellence of this superb team. The Kahn House was completed in 1959 and has been featured in many prominent publications including The New York Times Magazine, and the definitive Eichler book entitled Modernism Rebuilds The American Dream by Paul Adamson. The property defines the classic themes of the post-war Mid-Century Modern California home: an open floor plan, single level structure, post and beam construction, abundant natural light, and an openness to the surrounding landscape.

Matt Kahn, educated at The Cranbrook Academy of Art under Eliel Saarinen, was a Professor of Art at Stanford University for six decades. As the principle design consultants for Joseph Eichler, Matt and Lyda were instrumental in shaping the distinct iconography of the Eichler brand. They provided a major contribution to the identity of a brand that has become the benchmark for post-war living throughout the United States.

The house stands out for the purity of its architecture and distinctive design elegance. Flexibility of use is a key design element, and the juxtaposition of opposites heightens the house’s appeal and uniqueness. It is at once intimate yet grand, private yet open, exuberant yet quiet. It is both a stylish setting for social gatherings and an intimate retreat for family members. Matt held teaching sessions at the house where he imbued his students with his philosophy that the environment is a total work of art.

Upon entering the residence, its uniqueness is apparent. An enclosed atrium invites visitors into an elegant indoor garden which is visible from all the rooms. The spacious living room is at the center of the U-shaped floor plan, and is designed to separate the master suite from the west wing, with its two additional bedrooms and full bathroom. Natural light enhances the home's interiors. In the living room, two floor-to-ceiling windows outline a twelve foot freestanding wall which houses a four foot wide fireplace. Fireplaces were a major artistic element in A. Quincey Jones work and this one is no exception. Enthralled by the California light, the owner created exterior stained glass hanging panels on the east and west sides of the living room. The light passing through the glass enriches the living space.

The dining room, kitchen and multipurpose entertainment area open to a lush outdoor landscape and enhance the indoor/outdoor feeling of the space. A covered breezeway leads to a stand alone studio with its own bathroom. There is ample storage throughout the house, floor to ceiling windows, built in mahogany shelving and cabinetry, as well as display and task specific lighting.

The landscape is as thoughtfully designed as the house. Plants and architectural elements abound and lend a serenity to the environment. The Kahn House is a real gem in the inventory of Mid-Century modern luxury residences.

Subject:   Arts & Humanities Society & Culture Universities & Libraries,  Architecture ,  Interior design

Page 1 of 1 (3 Total Results)