Bauhaus-trained architect Bertrand Goldberg designed Synder House in 1953 for steel magnate John Snyder, breaking the shingled, Maine-style mould of houses on Shelter Island.
Snyder was the Chief Executive of the Pressed Steel Car Company, which manufactured Goldberg’s Unicel freight cars and Unishelter homes. Goldberg used components from the Unishelter program to design the experimental island home, prefabricating its parts – including the bathroom and kitchen – at Snyder’s Chicago factory and transporting them by rail and then boat to be assembled on the 3.4-acre site.
The original 1953 house was really two separate dwellings – a main house and guest accommodation that were adjoined and finished in a unifying mahogany plywood skin. Flagstone floors and colossal stone fireplaces were installed alongside floor-to-ceiling sliding glass to capture views of West Neck Harbor and Long Island Sound.
While Goldberg is well known for his futuristic Marina City complex in Chicago, few of his smaller residential designs survive, making Sydner House a rarity. The New York property is listed for $13.95m by Nick Brown of Sotheby’s International Realty.
According to the agent, its current owners undertook an extensive two-year renovation of the home in 2002, ‘rebuilding’ on its original footprint while modernising it. They also added a 74-ft-long heated saltwater pool, though the 6,006 sq ft island property has a private beach with a 235-ft-deep water dock, designed initially for seaplanes.
Shelter Island is located 100 miles east of Manhattan and is sheltered by nearby Long Island, which gives the nature-rich island its name. Primarily a summer destination, it is home to around 3,250 year-round residents and thousands of migrating birds who visit the island’s wetlands and nature reserves.