Architecture News

Paul Rudolph’s Iconic Walker Guest House is for Sale

It’s the first time the property has been on the market since it was built in the 1950s.

By Ilene Denton February 19, 2019

The Walker Guest House

The Walker Guest House, a Sanibel Island landmark designed by famed architect Paul Rudolph, is on the market for the first time for a cool $6,795,000.

The guest house—an ingenious 24-foot-square pavilion with walls made of wooden flaps that raised and lowered via pulleys—was designed and built on a patch of beach on Sanibel Island by Rudolph in 1952 and 1953. His clients were Dr. Walter Walker and his wife of Minneapolis (whose family donated the money to create one of the nation’s most acclaimed contemporary art museums, the Walker Art Center).

This is the first time the property has been on the market since the Walkers bought it and built the existing main house and guest house, says co-listing agent Ted Benjamin of VIP Realty Group on Sanibel Island. “Dr. Walter Walker passed away a number of years ago,” says Benjamin. “His widow, Elaine Walker, maintained the property until her passing late in 2018. Her children have decided it is best to sell the property and made the decision as a family unit. It is their desire to preserve the Walker Guest House. 

Benjamin says that, while much of the interest has been out of curiosity—“neighbors and Sanibel residents who have seen the house but never had an opportunity to tour it”—he’s also had several private showings to prospective serious buyers. “One couple has looked at the property two times now,” he says. Because of the national media coverage in Dwell and Curbed, he’s also hearing from architecture and art enthusiasts, “including architects, designers and engineers who are fascinated by the counter weight pulley system to raise and lower the panels.”

The Sarasota Architectural Foundation built a full-scale replica of the residence in 2015, and it was installed on the Ringling Museum grounds until mid-2017. It is now on loan to the Palm Springs Modern Committee, producer of the popular annual Palm Springs, California Modernism Week. 

You can see the full listing here.

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