New York Mystery House


What does it take to get your Upper East Side 5th Ave condo in the New York Times? How about an architect who decides to build in a Da Vinci Code mystery right into the design and not tell the client:

Mystery on Fifth Avenue –

But some of that furniture and some of those walls conceal secrets — messages, games and treasures — that make up a Rube Goldberg maze of systems and contraptions conceived by a young architectural designer named Eric Clough, whose ideas about space and domestic living derive more from Buckminster Fuller than Peter Marino.

A couple of notable points about this project and the article:

1. The fact that the client couple had children seemed to make the mystery and play acceptable, even though most of the puzzles and the prizes were focused on the grown-ups.

2. The design of the mysteries and secrets was such a compelling project that the project architect was able to engage 40-some co-conspirators in the process. Design at play and the design of play is so special that people want to participate, even if for free.

3. This article assumes this kind of fun house is unusual. And while not common, it turns out that the design of fun houses remains a consistent thread throughout the evolution of the home.

4. Once the mystery was solved, the family moved. Is the home as a game a disposable artifact, something meant to be enjoyed then discarded?

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