The Glass House Blog

Tatum House by Architect Hugh Smallen

Hugh Smallen's Tatum House, with landscaping and a new entry designed by Peter Rolland and John Black Lee

Tatum House by Architect Hugh Smallen, 1962. Photo by Craig Bloom.

The Tatum House designed by Hugh Smallen was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places as an extension of the The New Canaan Modern Home Survey. It is one of an impressive 18 modern homes that were added to state and national registers in 2010 as part of the first ever multiple-property registry for mid-century modern homes.

Learn more about the Tatum House, Modern Home Survey and this impressive Preservation Milestone for New Canaan Houses.

 

Filed under: Modern Home Project, , ,

Modern Homes Project: 18 New Canaan Homes

Building on the work of the 2008 New Canaan Mid-Century Modern House Survey, 18 individual properties in New Canaan were successfully nominated to the State and/or National Register of Historic Places.

This remarkable collection of properties, built between 1947 and 1979, represent the work of distinguished architects including:

Richard Bergmann / Latham House / 1968 / State Register 2010

Marcel Breuer / Breuer House II / 1947 / National Register 2010

Harrison DeSilver / System House / 1961 / National Register 2010

Gates and Ford / Ford House / 1954 / National Register 2010

Alan Gelbin / Murphy House / 1964 / National Register 2010

Alan Goldberg / Goldberg House / 1977  /State Register 2010

Victor Christ-Janer / Brandon House / 1977 / State Register 2010

Carl Koch / Techbuilt Swallen House / 1954 / National Register

 John Black Lee / System House / 1961 / National Register 2010

John Black Lee / Lee House I/ 1952 / National Register 2010

Gary Lindstrom / Lindstrom House / 1964 / State Register 2010

Willis N. Mills of Sherwood, Mills & Smith / Mills House II / 1956 / National Register 2010

Eliot Noyes / Chivvis House / 1979 / National Regisiter 2010

Laszlo Papp / Papp House / 1959 – 64 / State Register 2010

William Pedersen / Hall House / 1962 / National Register 2010

William Pedersen / Beaven Mills House / 1956 / National Register 2010

Sherwood, Mills & Smith / Durisol House Risom House / 1949 / National Register 2010

Hugh Smallen / Parsons House / 1964 / State Register 2010

Hugh Smallen Tatum House / 1962 / National Register 2010

Filed under: Modern Home Project

Modern Homes Project: Participating Organizations

The year-long project was directed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office and the Philip Johnson Glass House, in partnership with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the New Canaan Historical Society, the New Canaan Preservation Alliance and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation

The project was funded by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism with additional support by William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

Contact:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Wendy Nicholas, Northeast Regional Director
7 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 4th floor
Boston, MA 02109
www.PreservationNation.org

The Philip Johnson Glass House
Rena Zurofsky, Interim Executive Director
199 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
www.philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
Karen Senich, Executive Director
David Bahlman, Division Director and SHPO
One Constitution Plaza, 2nd floor
Hartford, CT 06103
www.cultureandtourism.org

The New Canaan Historical Society
Janet Lindstrom, Executive Director
13 Oenoke Ridge
New Canaan, CT 06840
www.nchistory.org

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
Helen Higgins, Executive Director
940 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06517
www.cttrust.org

Filed under: Modern Home Project

Modern Homes Project: News Release

Connecticut’s Modern Homes Part of First-Ever Statewide Listing to National Register of Historic Places

Raises awareness for nation’s underappreciated, but vastly influential mid-century architecture

Washington, D.C., (October 12, 2010) – Following a year-long study of Connecticut’s unique and unparalleled collection of Modern residences, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced today that for the first time a statewide thematic listing of Modern residential architecture has been accepted onto the National Register of Historic Places. To illustrate the listing, 18 Modern residences in New Canaan – the home of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, a National Trust Historic Site – have successfully been recognized as historically relevant and added to the State and/or National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of places worthy of preservation. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places provides formal honorary recognition of a property’s historical, architectural or archeological significance based on national standards.

Modern homes built between 1930 and 1979 have typically been underappreciated, despite their groundbreaking architectural contributions. The first of its kind to be approved by the National Park Service, the “Mid-Twentieth-Century Modern Residences in Connecticut 1930-1979 Multiple Property Documentation Form” detailed the state’s important contribution to the development and design of Modern residential architecture. This study and the resulting National Park Service recognition will, the National Trust hopes, lead to other states conducting similar statewide surveys of their Modern buildings.

“Given its cutting-edge role in American architecture, Modernism deserves to be understood and valued. This study was meant to shine a spotlight on these Modern gems in the hope of helping the public realize their significance instead of demolishing them,” said Alicia Leuba, Director of Programs for the Northeast Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “With its unique and substantial collection of Modern homes now nationally recognized as historically significant, Connecticut is blazing a path for other states to follow.”

Called a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF), this project was undertaken to highlight and help protect a key portion of Connecticut’s Modern architectural heritage. Carefully researched and documented by the Public Archeology Laboratory (PAL), based in Pawtucket, RI, the study concluded that “Connecticut’s unique contribution to the development of mid-twentieth-century Modern residential architecture was nearly unparalleled in scope and impact. These houses, many designed by notable and highly influential architects, commanded attention as groundbreaking statements on Modern architecture and design and lifestyle. Currently more than 300 architect-designed mid-twentieth-century Modern houses have been identified as currently standing in Connecticut, and new houses are identified regularly.”

Building on the work of the 2008 New Canaan Mid-Century Modern House survey, 18 individual properties in New Canaan were successfully nominated to the State and/or National Register in order to illustrate the MPDF.  This remarkable collection of properties, built between 1947 and 1979, represent the work of distinguished architects such as Richard Bergmann; John Black Lee; Marcel Breuer; Victor Christ-Janer; Harrison DeSilver; Gary Lindstrom; Gates and Ford; Alan Gelbin; Alan Goldberg; Carl Koch; Eliot Noyes; Laszlo Papp; William Pedersen; Sherwood, Mills & Smith; and Hugh Smallen. 

“The State Historic Preservation Office is very pleased to have played a part in this groundbreaking study. Thanks to PAL’s exhaustive research and thoughtful preparation, this document will provide a foundation for the assessment of all Modern residential architecture in Connecticut. New Canaan’s Modern house owners should also be commended for their open and willing spirit of participation in the process,” said David Bahlman, director of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Historic Preservation and Museum Division and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.  

“The Philip Johnson Glass House is grateful for the continued support of the New Canaan community and the relationships developed with these intrepid homeowners.  Each home has its place in history and we are appreciative of the willingness of our neighbors to work closely with the Glass House on this project,” said Gretchen Mueller Burke, special projects coordinator for the Philip Johnson Glass House.

The year-long project was directed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office and the Philip Johnson Glass House, in partnership with the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, the New Canaan Historical Society, the New Canaan Preservation Alliance and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.  The project was funded by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism with additional support by William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

The public is also invited to visit http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/modernism-recent-past/ for more information on efforts across the country to protect and preserve our Modern and Recent Past heritage.

The Modern Homes Survey can be found at http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/northeast-region/new-canaan-ct/

Filed under: Modern Home Project

Modern Homes Survey: Online Database

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”. That same year the Philip Johnson Glass House opened to the public with great fanfare and interest. How could our Modern assets garner such interest but simultaneously be threatened because of a lack of terminology, criteria or documentation?

As Modernism is our newest entrant into the continuum of architectural movements requiring historic preservation, this tear down was 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/ enhance, publish and put on-line the survey of the remaining 91 modern homes in New Canaan.

Across this site you will find the goals, examples and content to create better tools, common vernacular and greater awareness. The hope is that other communities embarking on a modern survey will connect to these tools and expand this site to showcase the homes and architects of this newest era of preservation.

Participating organizations:

The Philip Johnson Glass House
Rena Zurofsky, Interim Executive Director
199 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
www.philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

The New Canaan Historical Society
Janet Lindstrom, Executive Director
13 Oenoke Ridge Road
New Canaan, CT 06840
www.nchistory.org

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
Helen Higgins, Executive Director
940 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06517
www.cttrust.org

The Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
Karen Senich, Executive Director
David Bahlman, Division Director and SHPO
One Constitution Plaza, 2nd floor
Hartford, CT 06103
www.cultureandtourism.org

The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Wendy Nicholas, Northeast Regional Director
7 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, 4th floor
Boston, MA 02109
www.PreservationNation.org

Building Conservation and Associates
Ray Pepi, President
158 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
www.bcausa.com

Pentagram
Michael Bierut, Partner
204 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
www.Pentagram.com

Filed under: Modern Home Project

A Preservation Milestone for New Canaan’s Modern Houses

Roseanne Diserio, John Black Lee, David Bahlman (photo: Claire Hunter)

Before Roseanne Diserio walked across the lawn in front of the Glass House to receive a certificate in honor of her modern home’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places, she hesitated just for a second. Then Diserio emerged from the crowd with architect John Black Lee on her arm.  As David Bahlman, Connecticut’s Deputy Historic Preservation Officer, handed Diserio the certificate, eighty-six year old Lee turned to the audience and said “It was my first house!”

There were cheers for Lee and Diserio from the close-knit group of New Canaan modern house owners who gathered at the Philip Johnson Glass House on an 80 degree September day to celebrate a milestone in the preservation of modern residential architecture.  Twelve houses were added to the National Register of Historic Places and six to Connecticut’s State Register in the first multiple-property registry for mid-century modern houses.  Twenty-six homeowners, representing 15 of the houses, attended to accept their certificates in person.

The registry process was an outgrowth of The New Canaan Mid-Century Modern Houses Survey, executed by Building Conservation Associates and conducted during the tenure of outgoing Glass House Executive Director Christy MacLear.  The survey was a result of a partnership between the New Canaan Historical Society (NCHS), the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation – Philip Johnson Glass House. It was funded by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCCT).

Gretchen Mueller Burke addresses the crowd (photo: Claire Hunter)

Gretchen Mueller Burke of the Glass House, who coordinated the registry effort on the various local, state, and national levels, began work a year ago with Alicia Leuba of the National Trust’s Northeast office, NCHS Executive Director Janet Lindstrom, architect Richard Thomas of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance and Stacey Vairo of CCCT.  Burke emphasized the importance of the MPDF or Multiple Property Documentation Form. Unlike the single property form, it is in Burke’s words “a detailed overview of the history of the development of modern architecture and design in the State of Connecticut that provides an umbrella-like structure for the nomination of individual modern houses to the State and National Register of Historic Places.”

Ginny Adams and Jenny Scofield of Public Archaeological Laboratory (PAL) conducted research, wrote historical context documents, prepared nominations, and shepherded the nominations through the many official avenues.  The formal process included submission of the documentation to the CCCT, and a review by the Connecticut Historic Preservation Board

Ginny Adams, Michael Fedele (photo: Claire Hunter)

and the homeowners.  Once the state review board approved the nominations, they went to the National Park Service (NPS), the official home of the National Register of Historic Places.  Roger Reed of the NPS was on hand for the September event.  “There have never been so many houses listed at once,” said Adams, “and the multiple registry process has never been used statewide for modern houses.”

The new National and State Register listings include houses designed by Marcel Breuer, Gates & Ford, Willis Mills, Hugh Smallen, Allan Gelbin, Eliot Noyes, Alan Goldberg, Laszlo Papp, and John Black Lee, among others.  Alan Goldberg and Laszlo Papp are owners as well as the architects of their houses. The 2010 group joined some illustrious company already designated as historic houses:  Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Hodgson House, the Landis Gores House, Eliot Noyes’s second house, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tirranna.

Rena Zurofsky, Janet Lindstrom (photo: Claire Hunter)

Welcoming the preservationists and homeowners to the Glass House was Interim Executive Director, Rena Zurofsky, who greeted every person as he or she stepped off the van at the top of the Glass House driveway.  Zurofsky, along with David Bahlman and Alicia Leuba, offered their thanks to the many preservationists in attendance, including Mary Donohue, Connecticut’s Survey and Planning Grants Coordinator, and Janet Lindstrom, Executive Director of the New Canaan Historical Society (and a modern home owner) who for many years championed the preservation of modern houses.

Bahlman, however, made a point of honoring the homeowners. “The real stars are those of you who agreed to have the designation placed upon these very significant houses…. It’s quite an honor and sets the stage for other homeowners in Connecticut to nominate houses.”

“This is going to be a model,” said Bahlman in his summing up. “Nowhere has the buy-in or enthusiasm been as strong as it has been here in Connecticut.”  As PAL’s documents noted, “Connecticut’s unique contribution to the development of mid-twentieth century Modern residential architecture was nearly unparalleled in scope and impact.”

by Gwen North Reiss

Filed under: Modern Home Project, , , , , , , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,708 other followers

%d bloggers like this: