Neutra's Kaufmann House To Be Auctioned

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Barry Manilow once owned the Kaufmann House.

Credit: ©Barbara Alfors 2000

Next spring's auction of Richard Neutra's famed Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, Calif., may make architectural history if its price is right.

Owners Beth and Brent Harris, who are divorcing, decided to sell the house they restored at a Christie's auction on May 6, 2008, to make a statement.

"It's an odd thing, but the more money this house goes for, the better it is for preservation in my point of view," Beth Harris told the New York Times. "I think it will encourage other people to go out and get places like these to restore, rather than just looking for some pretty palace somewhere."

Designed by Neutra in 1946 for Edgar Kaufmann, who a decade earlier commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater, the house had been heavily altered by several additions when the Harrises bought it in 1993 for $1.5 million. (Modern architect William Cody designed the 2,000-square-foot additions, which the Harrises demolished during the six-year restoration.)

The five-bedroom, five-bathroom house, made of glass, steel, and stone, has a pre-sale estimate of $15 to $25 million.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service plans to raze Neutra's Cyclorama at Gettysburg, and the Viennese architect's only commercial building, designed in 1950, has been on the market for $3.5 million for one year.

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