Take advantage of this rare chance to stay in an architectural landmark that's stunningly beautiful inside and out! Set on the coast of Long Island Sound in Darien, Connecticut, Richard Meier’s Smith House is a Modernist lighthouse of transparent geometry. Critic Kenneth Frampton called it "a panoramic belvedere overlooking the rocky shoreline," a work of "neopurist" architecture that harked back to the best of Le Corbusier. One of Meier’s first major residential projects, the house also represented a turning point in his career.
When he won the commission for it in 1965, the 31-year-old Meier had been running his own firm for two years after apprenticing in the studio of Marcel Breuer. "The Smith House was a seminal project for me," Meier acknowledges today. "It allowed me to articulate some ideas I was starting to pursue, such as the balance between public and private space."
Designed as a weekend retreat for New Yorkers Carole and Fred I. Smith and their two young sons, the house capitalizes on its dramatic 1.5-acre site. Beyond a dense cluster of evergreens, the land clears and rises to the center of the site, then drops sharply to the rugged shoreline and a small, sandy cove. The spatial organization of the house hinges on the programmatic separation between public and private areas. From the front walkway, visitors approach a mostly opaque white wood facade before crossing a ramp and entering on the house’s second level to discover what Meier calls a "180-degree explosion" of light and space. The living room, dining area, and study embrace the waterfront views, pinwheeling in a three-level enclosure of glass on three sides.