Chance encounter with architect turns into Modern love in the Berkshires

Buying Luxury
The home sits on 6.28 acres in Becket.
The home sits on 6.28 acres in Becket. Ren Nickson

If it weren’t for a chance encounter on a flight from Venezuela, this Berkshires contemporary wouldn’t exist.

In the early 2000s, Alfredo Brillembourg, a Venezuelan architect and founder of Urban-Think Tank, was on a flight from Caracas to New York City — a flight to which he was very accustomed. A former guest professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Brillembourg is now a tenured professor and chair of architecture and urban design at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich.

“I was sitting next to this Venezuelan lady who was saying she wanted to relocate to the United States,’’ Brillembourg said. “She was thinking of buying one of these spec houses [in the] Berkshires.’’

He warned the woman against spec houses, saying they would be prefabricated by the construction company.

“I could design a house with certain modularity to it,’’ Brillembourg told her. “It was going to be basically a similar plan to what they are offering you, but we could do it much more beautifully.’’

He gave her his card but didn’t hear from her immediately. She had tried to go with the spec house as planned. “She called me back a couple of months later and said the spec house didn’t work out,’’ Brillembourg recalled.

The project was on.

Brillembourg said he quickly drafted up an idea and ended up working in collaboration with David Hotson Architect, a firm based in New York City. The home took a little more than a year to build and was completed in 2005.

Now 103 Longview Drive in Becket is for sale — listed for $1,395,000. And it’s not what you might expect in the Berkshires.

Built on 6.28 acres, it was designed with a stainless-steel roof and siding, but it incorporates more woodsy materials, such as wood and stone.

“Modern architecture is a rare treat in the Berkshires,’’ said the home’s broker, Dan Alden of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. “It’s a unique find in our area. A lot of what’s considered contemporary is quite often derived from barn-style, factory-style, refurbished old buildings.’’

Finding a modern house that is new and site specific is rare in the woodsy Berkshires, Alden said.

“It’s in a private community called Becket Woods,’’ Alden said. “There are four tennis courts, a swimming pond, a basketball court, and a shared garden [in the community]. It’s a nice balance of privacy and country living with a degree of community.’’

The home has five bedrooms, four baths, and 2,796 square feet of living space. When entering the main floor, you can’t help but notice the windows, which stand in for walls throughout much of the house. The ceilings are also very high, making the home feel even more open.

We “created a skylight at the top of the living room, the highest point of the house, so all the air could circulate and escape,’’ Brillembourg said. “A giant fan pulls hot air up and out from the top of the roof.’’

Alden notes that the highlight of the home, however, might be the first-floor spa.

“There’s a beautiful Japanese-style hot tub,’’ he said. “That room has a radiant wall behind the hot tub and radiant floors. It’s an Asian-style cedar hot tub.’’

There is also a bedroom on the first floor.

On the second floor, there’s the master bedroom, which boasts loft space, a walk-in closet, and views of the home’s natural surroundings.

The finished lower level offers the other three bedrooms and sitting areas.

Alden described the land surrounding the home as elegant, yet expansive. There are mountain views.

“It’s beautiful, but simple,’’ Alden said. “It’s no more than you need to maintain.’’

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