Harrison DeSilver was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1914. He received his degree in architecture from Columbia University in 1953. DeSilver moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, in 1960 after being inspired by his experience on one of the town's famous Modern house tours. After arriving in town, he formed a partnership with architect John Black Lee (1924-) to produce custom Modern homes at a reasonable cost. Calling the project "The System," DeSilver and Lee were able to limit the cost of their design by using measurements corresponding to stock cuts of lumber. The prototype "System House" was completed in 1961 and DeSilver became its first owner. Among DeSilver's other works are the Williams C. Bowie Residence (1969) on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and the Phonograph Shop Building (1962) in Stamford, Connecticut.