The stories behind some of New Canaan, Connecticut’s treasure trove of modernist homes have been less than uplifting. In addition to Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House, the wealthy enclave boasts dozens of homes by Johnson and his colleagues known as the Harvard Five. An ongoing battle simmers between some of the town’s wealthy residents who favor sprawling McMansions and a passionate contingent of modern architecture fans. At least 20 of the homes, built in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s–have been torn down, usually to build larger houses on the property. One embattled example is a lesser-known Johnson house known as the Alice Ball House. The 1,700-square-foot home, built in 1953, has been referred to as a “livable version of the Glass House.” And it’s now for sale for $7.7 million–along with approved plans by the current owner, an architect who has envisioned a companion property on a much grander scale, including an indoor pool and a massive skylit underground garage.
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From May 15-18, the Iconic Houses Network will hold its bi-annual international conference in New Canaan, Connecticut and the surrounding area. This year’s conference, titled “Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five,” will highlight the work of the famous five Harvard architects–Philip Johnson, John M. Johansen, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, and Eliot Noyes–who “stirred up an experimental modernist movement in the sleepy New England town.” There will be a number of different events, but perhaps most exciting is the slew of tours of modernist icons such as Johnson’s Glass House, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Usonia community,
Marcel Breuer isn’t just the architect behind the original Whitney Museum of Art–he’s also known for his mid-century modern home designs. And now there’s an incredible chance to buy the New Canaan, Connecticut home he actually designed for himself in 1951. The striking home has changed hands several times after Breuer’s death, according to DesignBoom. But the current owner commissioned New York-based architect Toshiko Mori to extend the property. A steel and glass extension gives the property a modern edge, which also doubling its size to four bedrooms over 5,577 square feet. It’s asking $4.35 million.
New Canaan, Connecticut became the hot-spot of modern architecture in the 1940s and 1950s, when a group of architects known as the Harvard Five settled here and built nearly 100 modern homes. Of the surviving properties–20 were torn down over the years–this one still stands in impressive condition and is now on the market. The DeSilver House is a striking midcentury modern design by architects Harrison DeSilver and John Black Lee. From the exterior, floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of the nearly three-acre site, and the interior is chock full of preserved modern details. It’s been offered through a private sale by the owner for $1.7 million.
This unique property is located just one hour outside of Manhattan, nestled in the woods of New Canaan, Connecticut. The striking structure was constructed in 1966 as a Techbuilt home, a style pioneered by the architect Carl Koch. Since then, the property received stone expansions to build out a 5,700-square-foot residence with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and a great room with vaulted, beamed ceilings. It’s on the market for the first time ever, with an ask of $979,000.
Just outside of New York City in New Canaan, Connecticut is the incredible home of the late John Black Lee, a renowned mid-century architect. He designed this glass and concrete pyramid for himself into the hill overlooking the Silvermine River in 1990, and lived there until his death this April. A striking open floorplan surrounded by the glassy pyramid walls embraces the surrounding wilderness; Lee had said that “this house is the only one in New Canaan that you enter through a skylight.” It’s now on the market for $750,000 after a recent price chop of $249,000.