Richard H. Mandel House
Backstory and Context
The Mandel home, built in January 1935, was one of the first structures in the United States featuring International Design.
In 1932, the Museum of Modern Art opened an exhibition on contemporary architecture entitled “The International Style,” featuring architects from several countries.
These architects promoted a more practical design, in contrast to the ornate designs of the preceding century. Their buildings featured simple geometric shapes, stripped of all unnecessary ornaments and constructed of common industrial materials.
Architect Edward Durell Stone stated in his autobiography, “I know of no single event which so profoundly influenced the architecture of the Twentieth Century.”
Designer Donald Deskey introduced Stone in 1933 to an associate, Richard H. Mandel, who wanted to build a house on a Bedford hilltop. He hired Stone to build the house and Deskey to plan the furniture and interiors; two years later, it would be complete.
The Mandel house is constructed of structural concrete and steel frame. While this might have been heavy and intimidating, its design in contrasting horizontal white stucco lines and narrow-framed windows make the walls appear “almost weightless.”
Despite the innovative design of the Mandel House, the International Style never became popular for private homes. As Stone acknowledged, many considered it to be “too sparse, too arid, too cold,” but the style had a powerful influence on commercial and institutional architecture now seen in many cities.
In 1996, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Modernism for Sale: Richard Mandel House by Edward Durell Stone, http://www.archnewsnow.com. Accessed May 21st 2020. http://www.archnewsnow.com/features/Feature125.htm.
Williams, Gray. Picturing Our Past. Elmsford, New York. Westchester County Historical Society, 2003.