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”. The Philip Johnson Glass House opened ot the public during the same year with great fanfare and interest. How could Modern assets garner such interest but simultaneously be threatened because of a lack of terminology, criteria or documentation?
As Modernism is the newest entrant into the continuum of architectural movements requiring historic preservation, the Rudoplh home tear down became 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, publish and put on-line the survey of the remaining 91 modern homes in New Canaan. Across this site you will see goals, examples and content to create better tools, common vernacular and greater awareness of Modernist architecture. Our hope is that other communities embarking on similar survey will connect to these tools to showcase the homes and architects of this newest era of preservation.
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.
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.