Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Modern House Tour in New Canaan

[Read 'Modern,' our new modern house blog, here.]

Tickets are on sale for the next Modern House Day tour and symposium in New Canaan, on Saturday, November 3. Some of the houses on the tour have changed from the original plans but there’s good stuff nonetheless. Tickets are $250 each. There's more info on the New Canaan Historical Society's website (the History Society and its volunteers are the organizers of the event).

Logo for the Modern House Day Tour and Symposium in New Canaan, CT

I've been helping to write the brochure for the event (my wife's firm, Gina Federico Graphic Design, is doing the design, pro bono), and here's some of what I've learned:

The oldest house on the tour was built in 1939 by two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin fellows, John Howe and Edgar Tafel. I always think of our own house, also built in 1939, as being the oldest Modern around here, but apparently it has a contemporary. (October 31 correction: This is wrong; the house was built in 1982.)

Edward Durell Stone’s Celanese House, where renovations are just finishing up, is on the tour. The Times had a story about it, and the people who are renovating it, over the weekend, here.

The house that Eliot Noyes built and lived in with his family will also be on the tour. As I understand it, it's been decades since the public has been able to tour the house. But it’s been written about a lot recently and the family is obviously interested in helping people remember Noyes’s achievements. His son, Frederick, will be one of the speakers at the day’s symposium.

There’s also a house designed by John Black Lee, who will be there to answer questions; and one attributed to Victor Christ-Janer.

The house that Breuer built for himself, in the late 1940s, will be on the tour, although only for an exterior view. My wife’s parents and aunt and uncle rented the house from Breuer in ‘49; her parents lived there while their own Modern was being finished and her aunt and uncle lived there while buying the house we live in now. We have some old glass-plate photos of it but I don’t know how to get them digitized.

The Gores Pavilion, in Irwin Park, will also be on the tour, as a drive-by.

The day starts with a symposium. Among the speakers are Jens Risom, the furniture designer, and John Johansen, the only surviving member of New Canaan''s "Harvard Five" architects. Johansen, by the way, is married to Walter Gropius's daughter, which is an interesting connection to the birth of the Bauhaus and Modern architecture.



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