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18 New Canaan Moderns make the Connecticut/National Register

October 25, 2010

As the nomination documents assert, “Connecticut’s unique contribution to the development of mid-20th century Modern residential architecture was nearly unparalleded in scope and impact.” More than 300 architect-designed mid-20th-century Modern houses have been identified as currently standing in the state and new houses are identified regularly. Those who have spent much time exploring the architecture of New Canaan know that this quiet town is home to as many as 90 depending on how you define “Modern.”

In September 12 New Canaan houses were added to the National Register of Historic Places and six to the Connecticut State Register. The survey and nomination project was a result of a partnership between the New Canaan Historical Society, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation – Philip Johnson Glass House. It was funded by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. The effort marked the first “multiple-property” listing for mid-century modern houses approved by the National Park Service and should serve as a model for other states with concentrations of modern residential architecture. The listed houses include works by Marcel Breuer, Gates & Ford, Willis Mills, Hugh Smallen, Allan Gelbin, Eliot Noyes, Alan Goldberg, Laszlo Papp and John Black Lee, among others.

A celebratory awards event for homeowners was held at the Philip Johnson Glass House last month and is covered on the Glass House blog by Gwen North Reiss.

DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State’s forthcoming print newsletter will include an in-depth article about the multiple listing and the individual houses that made it possible.

Image: Tatum House, Hugh Smallen, 1962; with landscaping and a new entry by Peter Rolland and John Black Lee, commissioned by current owners Craig Bloom and Ashlea Ebeling.

photo: Craig Bloom