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Lieb House, Long Island, United States

Friday 20 Mar 2009

Fantastic voyage

Wade Zimmerman 
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Smooth sailing for Venturi’s Lieb House 

Saved from the wrecking ball, an early house designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architect Robert Venturi known as the Lieb House, made a historic journey last week from its original site in the New Jersey beach community of Barnegat Light to its new home in Glen Cove, Long Island. The trip was no ordinary journey, as the house traveled 75 miles by barge across the Atlantic Ocean through New York Harbor up the East River and into the Long Island Sound before reaching its final destination. The trip, which took 20 hours to complete, attracted a throng of onlookers, including Mr. Venturi, who viewed the event from New York’s South Street Seaport.

The Lieb House is Venturi’s second commission, completed on the heels of the more famous Vanna Venturi house, which the architect designed for his Mother. When it was built in 1969, the house made a dramatic, new statement. A modest square box with a flat roof and no ornamentation, save for an over-scaled number nine painted on its front façade and a few odd-shaped windows, the house stood in stark contrast to the vernacular beach houses of the day with their peaked roofs and cedar shingles. Designed for Nathaniel and Judy Lieb, the house was recently sold to a new owner who planned to tear it down. When word spread about the house’s imminent demise, the owners of another Venturi house, Deborah Sarnoff and her husband, Robert Gotkin, stepped in to save the day. The couple plan to use the house as a guest cottage to accompany their Venturi-designed main house. The house reportedly cost $1.00 to purchase and more than $100,000 to move.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize

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