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Upstate New York Architecture Safari

-Kingfisher Tower is an architectural folly designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh and built by Edward Clark in 1876 with the simple purpose to beautify Lake Otsego, in Cooperstown. Credit Paul Clemence.


Story & photos by Paul Clemence

The pandemic travel restrictions mean that it’s a great opportunity to explore new and creative ways to go sightseeing. Road trips are a safe and fun choice. Taking a drive Upstate New York, for example, one can indulge in a wonderful architectural tour while socially distanced tucked inside the comfort of your own vehicle. From idiosyncratic, floating follies to striking bold Modernism structures and to one of the most, quite literally, brilliant Frank Gehry designs, the eclectic mix has something for every taste. From way West in Cooperstown’s Otsego Lake to Beacon, here are some not to be missed highlights.


Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, built in 1874. Credit Paul Clemence.


Part of Empire State Plaza, The Egg is a performing arts venue. Designed by Harrison & Abramovitz in 1966 the bold structural marvel was inaugurated in 1978. Credit Paul Clemence.


Plaza by The Egg entrance, featuring Salem 7 sculpture by American sculptor Antoni Milkowski. Credit Paul Clemence.


Near Hudson, NY, Olana Estate, built in 1872, was home to renowned 19th century landscape painter Frederic Church and his family. Credit Paul Clemence.


Olana, envisioned by Church, with help of architect Calvert Vaux. The villa features an eclectic mix of Moorish and Italianate inspirations. Credit Paul Clemence.


Bard Fisher Center, by starchitect Frank Gehry, inaugurated in 2003, at Annandale-on-Hudson. Credit Paul Clemence.


A window at Frank Gehry’s Bard Fisher Center. Credit Paul Clemence.


Bannerman Castle was a whimsical idea brought forth by excentric businessman Francis Bannerman at the Pollepel Island on the Hudson in 1901, just north of Cold Spring. Credit Paul Clemence.


Stairs ruins at Bannerman Castle. Credit Paul Clemence.



Paul Clemence is an award-winning photographer and writer exploring the cross-section of design, art and architecture. A published author, his volume Mies van der Rohe’s FARNSWORTH HOUSE remains to this day the most complete photo documentation of that iconic modern residential design, and a selection of these photos is part of the Mies van der Rohe Archives housed by MoMa, New York. He is widely published in arts, architecture and lifestyle magazines like Metropolis, ArchDaily, Architizer, Modern, Casa Vogue Brasil and others. Archi-Photo, aka Architecture Photography, his Facebook photo blog quickly became a photography and architecture community, with over 970,000 followers worldwide. An architect by training, Clemence is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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