Internationally celebrated New York Five architect Charles Gwathmey’s first ever built design was in the Hamptons, a beach house for his parents. That was in 1965. After that, before his death in 2009, Gwathmey was one of the go-to architects in the Hamptons; he designed Stephen Spielberg’s house in East Hampton, as well as an oceanfront place for the art dealing de Menil family, which is now owned by high-powered art gallerist Larry Gagosian, as well as many other spots.
Designed for former Goldman Sachs partner Jonathan Sobel and his ophthalmologist wife Marsha Dunn, this striking and unconventional residence is in Sagaponack, often cited as the most expensive zip code in the United States. (Data compiled by Property Shark shows the the median price of a home in the 11962 zip code ballooned to $5 million in 2021.) Completed in 2005, this is one of Gwathmey’s last works, yet in many ways the house epitomizes Gwathmey’s signature retro-modern style. It was a bold move, for example, to create a decidedly 1980s wall of glass blocks in 2005.
Heavily influenced by Le Corbusier and the International Style of the 1920s and 1930s, Gwathmey used unique and unexpected forms to create complex and often voluminous, light-filled interior spaces. He rejected the 1970s and 80s call for cultural allusions in postmodern design, and in his work, oversized doors and windows, swooping curved roofs, cylindrical and square volumes, innovative new materials, and generous proportions were architectural solutions and flourishes that don’t intentionally refer to any historical precedent. Here, the glass block wall, for instance, which borders the interior courtyard, ensures the area is flooded with light, while the floor-to-ceiling fireplace is perfectly proportioned to complement and balance the scale of the double-height living room.
In all, there are 8,000 square feet of space, with seven bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms, and five half-baths, all set on 2.44 acres of land. The kitchen is sleek with top-of-the-line fittings, the screened porch has an outdoor fireplace, and a home automation system controls the lighting, audio, and geothermal A/C systems. Particularly nice is the ocean-view primary suite on the second floor, which has his and hers bathrooms and dressing rooms as well as a nearby study. The finished lower level features many of the recreational extras for which basements in Hamptons mansions are widely known: game room, media room, gym, and not just one but two wine cellars.
The estate also features a hedge-lined all-weather tennis court and heated swimming pool, plus a pool house with a quintessential Gwathmey-style curved roofline that echoes the main house.
Just a block from the ocean beach in one of the richest towns in the Hamptons, the location could hardly be better, and the much-coveted deeded ocean access is a huge bonus. Interested? The property is listed with Susan Breitenbach at Corcoran, asking $28 million. Told you Sagaponack ain’t cheap.