This House Might Help You Live Forever (But Probably Not)

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This week’s Wednesday WTF is a house in the Hamptons that the designers claimed would help you live forever.

Artist couple Madeline Gins and Arakawa created the home with the idea that it would put the practices of their belief of “reversible destiny” into practice. The Life-Span Extending Villa, also known as the Bioscleave House, sought to make an environment that felt off-balance so it would challenge the owner to always be alert and cautious when making their way through the structure, which in turn would serve as both abode and anti-aging device.

“It’s immoral that people have to die,” Gins told the New York Times in 2008.

Gins and Arakawa were proteges of Marcel Duchamp, and their work has been published and shown worldwide, including exhibitions at the Guggenheim, listing agent Jose B. DosSantos with Brown Harris Stevens said.

Here is a singular, rare masterwork – the only house they designed and built to test 50 years of research through this experimental, provocative laboratory,” he added.

Everything about the home is intentional, from the 52 different colors found within and without the house to the bumpy flooring that surrounds the kitchen.

The home was designed to make sure that the occupants would need to remain active and alert in their daily tasks, improving immunity and extending their lives, the couple hypothesized.

A hilly floor requires caution. Angled electrical outlets and floor-level windows required attention to immediate surroundings and a fair amount of problem-solving, making for sharper senses.

None of the rooms have doors — not even the bathrooms. Not even the bedrooms.

Good luck with your pooping and snoring.

A homeowner commissioned the two to add this extension to a small Hamptons home in the 1990s. It took more than $2 million to build, and at some point, the homeowner fled the project because of the cost and a group of professors formed a company to complete it.

The home was completed in 2008, and nobody has ever lived in it, reportedly. It’s been on and off the market ever since, and has currently been listed for 260 days.

It now clocks in at 2,700 square feet,  and has four bedrooms and has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. There are two connected houses: The “back” Bioscleave House and the “front” original A-frame house, according to the listing.

Did all that obstacle coursing and alertness, and electrical outlets that can’t possibly be useful for a nightlight work? Are Arakawa and Gins around, living forever?

Photo courtesy the Reversible Destiny Foundation

Uh, no. Arakawa died of ALS in 2010 at age 73, and Gins died of cancer at age 72 in 2014. For reference, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 79 years or so.


To learn more about Gins and Arakawa, click here. To see more of the listing, go here.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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