A built-to-scale replica of Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House is now up for auction during Modernism Week in Palm Springs, Calif.
“The Walker Guest House is a stunning example of Paul Rudolph’s architecture, but it’s on Sanibel Island and the owners didn’t t want visitors,” says Anne Essner, chair of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. She’s also an owner of two Sarasota Rudolph homes, including the Umbrella House.
The foundation created the replica in 2015 for display at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. More than 500,000 people saw it during its three-year exhibit, with 5,000 taking actual tours – before it was disassembled, packed up and shipped to Palm Springs.
“It allowed people to see a wonderful piece of architecture without having to go to Sanibel,” she says. “One little boy who was eight or nine came in and asked: ‘Is this the house of the future?’”
The short answer: “Yes.” It’s about as fresh and contemporary as any modern home on the market today.
The original 1952 recently sold at auction for $920,000 – with the requirement that it be moved from the Walker estate. Its buyer remains anonymous.
The opening bid for the replica is $10,000. That’s the cost of the original guest house, though the foundation estimates it spent $150,000 to build the replica.
“There was a lot of love in Sarasota for it – people were upset when it had to come down, but it was a temporary exhibit,” Essner says. “It became like a little mascot here, with 40 to 50 docents who were like family and sad to see the house go.”
Online bidding for the replica is now underway through Heritage Auctions, and is slated to end on Feb. 25. The new owner will be responsible for moving it by March 25.
Viewing and tours are taking place now, on location between the Palm Springs Art Museum and the Rowan Hotel in Palm Springs.
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