House of Light and Air Seeks New Home
The Aluminaire House, shown here after a relocation to the Long Island campus of the New York Institute of Technology, was featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s 1932 Modern Architecture: International Exhibition.
Built in 1931 for a New York City exhibition, the Aluminaire House was emblematic of the latest advances in materials and mass production for affordable housing. Later the aluminum and steel frame house, designed by architects Lawrence Kocher (Record’s managing editor from 1927–38) and Albert Frey, was dismantled and moved. In 2011 it was entrusted to the privately funded Aluminaire House Foundation, run by architects Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani.
Now there are plans to reconstruct the 22-by-28-foot house—plus create an eight-unit residential building—on a corner site in Queens near the context-appropriate Sunnyside Gardens (1924–28). The new scheme for the historic district (which has some critics), by Campani and Schwarting, needs to be approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission at a hearing on September 24. If reconstructed, the house would be open to visitors. Laura Raskin