On a quiet, tree-lined street, camouflaged among pre-war houses is an icon of modernism in steel and smoked glass: 101 East 63rd Street.  Designed by famed architect Paul Rudolph in 1968, the building is both a triumph of mid-century architecture and an important piece of social history.  This is the story of a famous house that captured the zeitgeist of the 1970’s, known to the New York glitter set simply as ‘101.’ 

 
 

The dark glass, for all its sobriety suggests that there is great drama going on inside, and indeed there is.” – Paul Goldberger, The New York Times, July 24, 1977. 

When you enter the house, you are immediately confronted by its history.  The foyer is lined with iconic photographs, many of which were taken by Andy Warhol inside of the house. Owned by designer to the stars, Halston, and located blocks from Studio 54, ‘101’ was where the beautiful partied before and after visiting the legendary club.  

A world of its own, inward looking and secretive, is created in a relatively small volume of space in the middle of New York City. Varying intensities of light are juxtaposed and related to structures within structures.”  - Paul Rudolph

Halston bought the house in 1974, at the peak of his fame.  Martha Graham said of Halston that he would “only settle for the best,” and the best is what he found in Rudolph’s masterpiece. “It’s such a work of art,” he said, “you end up giving into it.”  

 

 

"I know this house was designed for somebody else, but I really feel it was built for me.” –Halston

"I know this house was designed for somebody else, but I really feel it was built for me.” –Halston

“Standing inside it, one cannot help but think of Halston’s own designs, since the ideas which underlie the architecture parallel the designers own themes.” –Paul Goldberger, the New York Times

“Standing inside it, one cannot help but think of Halston’s own designs, since the ideas which underlie the architecture parallel the designers own themes.” –Paul Goldberger, the New York Times

 

Halston and his house are both described in terms of purity, modernism, and paradox.

 

It is a remarkable space indeed, large yet intimate, active yet serene.”-New York Times

It is a remarkable space indeed, large yet intimate, active yet serene.”-New York Times

Halston’s house quickly became the epicenter of 70’s star culture.  A party at ‘101’ became known in the vernacular of the time as a “Halston Happening.” 

Liza Minnelli and Bianca Jagger were both off and on residents of the top-floor suite, which included a kitchen, a living room with a bar, a bedroom with a full bathroom, and the huge terrace.  

101 was the envy of Andy Warhol who often remarked, “This is the way I wish my house looked.” “It looked so rich at Halston’s, so many orchids, so cool…”- Andy Warhol

101 was the envy of Andy Warhol who often remarked, “This is the way I wish my house looked.”

“It looked so rich at Halston’s, so many orchids, so cool…”- Andy Warhol

Halston retired from the public eye in 1984, and his house became a perfectly contained and quiet sanctuary. A few months before his death in 1990, he sold his townhouse to German photographer Gunter Sachs.  Sachs, a modern art collector with a penchant for Andy Warhol, was a natural successor.  He was once married to Bridget Bardot, and an adjective was invented for his style of jet-setting:

“In his wilder days, Parisian dailies called him “Saxy,”- Obituary of Gunter Sachs, New York Times, May 9, 2011

 

Sachs added to the glamorous history of the house, lining the walls with his own private collection of celebrity candids (show).  Like Halston before him, he made few changes to Rudolph’s aesthetic, so that the house remains the time warp-a fabulous portal to a bygone era.

 “Urban design deals with the old and the new, the expanded and the contracted, the hum-drum and the extraordinary. It brings people together. It separates people. It commemorates its history.”- Paul Rudolph