New Canaan has long been recognized as a major destination for devotees of modern architecture.
The town is home to Philip Johnson's world renowned , mid-century designs by the "Harvard Five"architects and their disciples, and other 21st Century moderns reflecting this heritage.
On Sunday May 1 from 1 to 4:45 p.m. the New Canaan Moderns tour sponsored by will showcase eight modern houses currently on the market.
The tour is free to the public and are required. Maps will be provided for house hunters and curious aficiandos to visit homes normally available only to serious buyers or patrons of occasional benefit events.
The homes have been restored, renovated or expanded to accommodate 21st Century lifestyles, while preserving their significant architectural features.
Some are pure, virtually untouched originals while others are re-dos of an iconic house.
— John Black Lee’s award winning prototype System House on Chichester Road was built in 1961 utilizing a modular construction with six foot floor to ceiling windows to create an open, spacious feeling.
The System House is one of 18 modern homes in New Canaan in 2010 to the State and National Historic Registry.
— A protege and student of Louis Kahn at the Yale School of Architecture, James Evans designed the mid-century home on Benedict Hill Road in 1969 for his family. Reminiscent of the soaring wings of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center, walls of glass surround an open floor plan allowing the outdoors to be enjoyed from every room.
— Philip Johnson’s Alice Ball home, a classic mid-century masterpiece on Oenoke Ridge was built in 1953 and beautifully restored to showcase Johnson’s seamless integration of outdoors and indoors with open flowing spaces.
— The Hemicycle House was designed in 1982 by John Howe, Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentice who utilized one of Wright’s last innovations, the hemicycle or semi-circular curve. The home has recently had a major expansion carefully preserving the integrity of Wright’s vision as interpreted by Howe.
— James Evans also designed an iconic modern home on Chichester Road in 1963. A recent renovation of the three level, five bedroom home preserves the expansive glass walls with stunning views of a picturesque pond and rolling hills.
— A Greenley Road estate was designed and built by Cuban architect Eduardo Faxas, a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright who worked with Harvard Five architect Eliot Noyes. Built in 1966, the home is a tribute to Wright’s strong linear and horizontal architecture.
— Four stories of glass soar to the sky in a Fox Run Road home built in 1969 and renovated in 1981 by architect David Ling. The interior features natural materials blending seamlessly with the natural beauty of the landscape.
— The dramatic Prutting Townhouse is a 21st century modern designed and built in 2009 by David Prutting with Greenwich architect Joeb Moore. The LEED certified ”green” residence is inspired by the principles of New Canaan’s modernist tradition.
"Modern homes should offer today's buyer good design, smart use of space and energy efficiency." said real estate agent, Mimi Allen. "Glamorous oversize rooms are passe — Less tends to be more."
"Moderns. What they are is not just what everyone thinks," Susan Blabey told About Town.
"Our group of eight houses is a fine example that moderns are varied and very interesting," said Blabey, real estate agent and coordinator of the tour."
House sizes, styles, acreage and prices vary but all represent fine architecture.
"You think you know moderns?" Blabey asks. "Perhaps not!"