Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Micheels Is Testifying Today At The Hearing To Determine The Fate Of Paul Rudolph's Micheels House in Westport

[Read 'Modern,' our new blog about mid-century modern houses, here.]

It's customary (although not an absolute rule) when talking about modern houses to name the house after the original owner. Thus the house in New Canaan on Oenoke Ridge Road that Philip Johnson designed is the Alice Ball House, and the house on Ponus Ridge Road that he designed is the Hodgson House (an exception to the rule is the house across the road, the Glass House, which Johnson designed for himself rather than for a fellow named Glass).

So following that custom, the Paul Rudolph house in Westport is known as the Micheels House, after Louis Micheels, for whom Rudolph designed the place in the 1970s. Micheels happens to be in court today, in Stamford, testifying as part of the hearing to decide if the fellow Micheels wants to sell to, David Waldman, will be allowed to tear the house down. The hearing started yesterday, and WestportNow is covering. The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation wants the judge to at least delay the demolition so it can complete an application to nominate the house for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and to give the state of Connecticut time to review the application. Micheels supposedly is coming down from the Boston area to say he doesn't want the house to be on the National Register.

Offhand, I know of three other modern houses on the National Register: the Hodgson House, Landis Gores's house on Cross Ridge Road in New Canaan, and the Mandel House, in Bedford Hills, designed by Edward Durrell Stone, which I have a picture of that I can't put my hands on at the moment.

[For more on the issue, see The Destruction of Paul Rudolph's Micheels House in the right hand column.]



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