July 28, 2014
Kykuit has so many magical wonders. Home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, the six story stone house and beautiful grounds have been added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The villa, built in the Classical Revival style, is absolutely stunning, a picture of understated elegance. Originally built for one of the wealthiest men in the world, Kykuit does not appear bombastic or overly decadent. Rather, its 40+ rooms, some which were decorated by Ogden Codman Jr., emanate a quiet splendor.
The interior of the home is beautiful and its grounds can certainly be deemed equally enchanting. Designed by noted architect William Welles Bosworth, the landscape was fashioned in the Beaux-arts style. Many magnificent sculptures collected by Nelson Rockefeller may be found throughout the network of terraced gardens and loggias. The header image for this article includes one of my favorite outdoor areas, the pergola found on Kykuit’s Northeast facade. To the professional eye, one sees that within this pergola the pattern of the terrace floor, the pendant lights above, the Max Bills Triangular Surface in Space piece — a geometric abstraction of polished rose granite on a gray granite column — all lie on an axis. Although Bosworth was the landscape architect, as well as the person who orchestrated the remodel and rebuild of Kykuit, I feel that Delano and Aldrich may have played a large role in designing the exterior loggias and pergola.
I am inspired by Kykuit and its classical artistry. This pergola shares with the viewer an understanding of the orders and how important applying the classical language truly is. See below for some images of the garden and grounds. Visit http://www.hudsonvalley.org/historic-sites/kykuit for visitation information.
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