The Survey of New Canaan homes was prompted by the demolition of the Paul Rudolph home in Westport CT in 2007. A part of the Judge’s decision to allow demolition was the “lack of criteria for significance”. That same year we were opening the Philip Johnson Glass House to the public with great fanfare and interest. How could our Modern assets garner such interest but simultaneously be threatened because of a lack of terminology, criteria or documentation?
As Modernism is our newest entrant into the continuum of architectural movements requiring historic preservation, this tear down was a call to action. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through the Glass House, partnered with the New Canaan Historical Society to leverage an earlier study done by DoCoMoMo’s Northeast chapter to expand/ enhance, publish and put on-line the survey of the remaining 91 modern homes in New Canaan. Across this site you will see our goals, examples and content to create better tools, common vernacular and greater awareness. Our hope is that other communities embarking on a modern survey will connect to these tools and expand this site to showcase the homes and architects of this newest era of preservation.
Henry Urbach, Director – the Philip Johnson Glass House
The project sponsors outlined the following objectives for the survey:
- To identify and document the range of mid-twentieth century architect-designed Modern houses in New Canaan.
- To develop and promote consistent methodology and nomenclature for the study of mid-century Modern residences.
- To adapt and apply standard criteria for evaluating the integrity and significance of Modern residences and related resources in a replicable manner.
To meet these goals, the study included a field survey of accessible properties using a specifically tailored survey form, historic research, the creation of a glossary of Modern architectural terms, and an evaluation of the resources using the National Register of Historic Places Criteria for Evaluation.
The complete survey is available in print or DVD formats. This survey has additional photos, resources and appendices beyond what is on the site.
Copies are available in the following formats and cost-based prices:
- Color printed copy in an archival box: $200 + shipping
- Black and White printed copy in an archival box: $100 + shipping
- DVD: $50 + shipping
Sponsorship & Funding
The New Canaan Mid-Century Modern Houses Survey was sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Northeast Office, the New Canaan Historical Society, the Philip Johnson Glass House, and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. An Advisory Board, whose members were John Johansen, John Black Lee, Toshiko Mori, Theo Prudon, and Robert A.M. Stern, provided additional guidance. Support was provided by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism with funds from the State of Connecticut. Work was conducted far above and beyond budgets for the Survey by Building Conservation Associates and on the Site by Pentagram.