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Building Conservation Associates

New Canaan Modern House Survey

Location: New Canaan, Connecticut

In the post-World War II period, an informal network of Modern architects later known as the “Harvard Five”—Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, Eliot Noyes, and Philip Johnson—moved to the bucolic town of New Canaan, Connecticut, and established what would become a center of experimental Modern residential design. The National Trust for Historic Preservation Northeast Office, the New Canaan Historical Society, the Philip Johnson Glass House, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism sponsored a project to survey 65 of New Canaan's surviving mid-century modern residences in order to document these houses and to serve as a national model for similar surveys throughout the United States.

BCA performed extensive archival research on the Modern movement in the United States, the Harvard Five, and the development of Modern residences in New Canaan. BCA developed a historic context, systematically documented each house, and assessed its architectural and historical significance by applying the National Register (NR) of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation. The study incorporated a field survey using a custom survey tool and produced an extensive narrative report. The culmination of this project was an exhibit at the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism Gallery in Hartford, Connecticut.