Fun in the Hamptons: The Pinwheel House.

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton

Architect Peter Blake is perhaps best known for a design that was never realized: his “Ideal Museum” conceived for Jackson Pollock in 1949. A friend of the artist, Blake asked Pollock to paint large murals on the four movable panels of the house he designed for his own family, but like the museum, those murals remain a dream. That house, however, was completed in 1954 and still exists today in Water Mill, New York.

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Drawing courtesy of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University and the Peter Blake Estate.

Dubbed the Pinwheel House for how its exterior walls slide away from the main structure, it was originally designed as a small square box, then later expanded in 1989. The house’s moving panels allowed the family to open it in a variety of ways, whether to capture a view or breeze, as well as to close it entirely for protection against storms.

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Drawing courtesy of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University and the Peter Blake Estate.

When first built, the house sat lightly on the land in the middle of a barren potato field. Today the same property is surrounded by a neighborhood of manicured lawns and Hamptons-esque architecture, “most of which I despise,” said Blake in a 1999 interview. “That whole area, before all the twits came in, was all about landscape, views of the water, and so on.”

Fortunately, the simplicity Blake cherished is still manifested in this house, which is currently available for rent.

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In Blake’s drawings you can see that the placement of the extending panels changed over time, eventually becoming the exterior walls.
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The 1989 addition as seen from the driveway. Photos by Gwendolyn Horton