Evans House


James Evans


1961


Description

The Evans House is sited on wooded parcel set off of the road. Using a thin shell structural system, Evans designed his soaring one-story (plus basement) house with a hyperbolic paraboloid roof. This structural roofing system allowed for a completely open floor plan at the interior since no intermediary columns or supports were necessary. The thin shell roof rests on two concrete piers at the corners (low points of the soaring roof) of the house; otherwise, the fa?ades are primarily floor-to-ceiling, wood-framed window walls. The airy effect of the house is especially pronounced since the ceiling height is nearly two stories tall at its highest points. The roof projects beyond the plane of the walls, protecting the window walls from weathering.

The house, which has a square footprint, is built into a gently sloping site. The primary entrance and living/dining room and kitchen are at grade on the first floor and the five bedrooms are located on the fully exposed basement level at the back of the house. There is a wrap-around deck off of the first-floor living spaces at the back of the house, which extends the square footprint of the house. The designer?s intent to mesh indoor and outdoor living spaces is further emphasized through the living/dining room?s six sliding glass doors.

There have been very minor alterations to the house. The wrap-around deck was originally designed with a wrap-around bench rather than a railing. For code and safety reasons, the bench was replaced with a railing. The basement sliding sash windows were replaced with aluminum sliding sash units in 1986.


Significance

The Evans House was designed by architect James Evans for his own family and completed around 1961. The Evans House was included in the 1961 Modern House Tour in New Canaan before it was finished. In an article about the tour, the New Canaan Advertiser wrote about the Evans House: "The form of the house [is] influenced by a design naturally complimentary to the hillside itself and that picks up the slope of the land gently to make use of it for habitation?the house opens out to the view as well as the hillside, allowing the sky to enter and yet gives a feeling of shelter and containment on its low sides with unencumbered space on the upper levels" (New Canaan Advertiser, 27 April 1961).

The Evans family lived in the house until the late 1970s. In the next few decades, the house had a number of owners: Robert and Araxy Jezairian (purchased 1978), Gerry S. Culpepper (purchased 1979), Michael G. and Maureen M. Wilhelm (purchased 1980), the Employee Transfer Corp. (purchased 1982), James and Evelyn Gregory (purchased 1983), Frank J. and Katherine S. Genovese (purchased 1986), and James O. and Faye E. Flynn (purchased 1994). In 2000, Herbert & Dorothy Kunstadt purchased the house.


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.