Birkenstock House

Victor Christ-Janer



The Birkenstock House is a two-story dwelling sited on a flat lot overlooking a pond at the rear of the property. The original design of the house has been lost due to extensive alterations, including the construction of a second floor and the elimination of the original eave overhangs. Although the current design of the house is influenced by the Modern aesthetic, the house no longer retains a mid-century Modern appearance or feeling.

The current flat-roofed house is heavily fenestrated, especially on the pond-facing facade, with sliding glass doors, fixed sash, and awning and ribbon windows. The footprint is staggered to allow multiple rooms to have views of the pond. The main entrance faces the driveway and the entry porch is covered by a pergola. A shed-roofed garage is attached to the house.


The Birkenstock house was designed by Victor Christ-Janer for James W. Birkenstock, who purchased the land along Blueberry Pond in 1960. The house was completed in 1962. Birkenstock worked at IBM as the vice president of commercial and industry relations. Historic photographs show that the original house was a one-story structure with a wall of glass facing the pond. A large, curving concrete terrace fronted the pond-facing fa?ade of the house.

In 1970, the rear half of the house was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt that same year. By 1976, Jean L. Birkenstock owned the property. In 1990, the house was acquired by Fairfield University. Current owners David M. and Nadine W. Chang purchased the house in 1994 and undertook major renovations, which included the addition of a second floor and the complete remodeling of the first floor, essentially altering the original house beyond recognition.

National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.