Neil Hauck is best known for classic residential design, houses that are rich in gables and moldings, with liberal use of clapboard, cedar shakes and fieldstone. But the Darien-based architect started out as a modernist. After graduating from Princeton and the University of Virginia School of Architecture, he went to work in the Hamden studio of Kevin Roche, a winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and one of the most famous modern architects of the late-twentieth century. On his own, Hauck has developed a reputation for clean, spare, commercial design while mixing traditional and modern elements in residential projects. Recently, we caught up with him and asked him about his work.
What are homeowners commissioning from you these days?
There’s still interest in traditional styles, but more people are seeking modern things—architecture, furnishings, detailing. We’re seeing more modern houses but also modern details within traditional styles.
How do you marry modern details with Craftsman or Shingle-style architecture?
You might have larger expanses of glass than you’d find in a traditional house, and rather than building up lots of interior moldings, you can strip that down for a more open, airy interior. These subtle details can change the way a house looks and feels, and makes it more contemporary.
How do you create modern lines that are timeless?
I try to design in such a way that my work isn’t tied to a particular period. But I never depart from traditional rooflines; simplicity can produce a powerful form.
Which current project are you excited about?
We just finished a modern farmhouse that backs up to the New Canaan Nature Center. There’s a modern staircase inside and a skylight above it that washes the structure with light. The lines of the house are simple, and some of the elements—a garage that looks like an old barn—very traditional. It’s a nice mix of classic and cutting-edge.
Neil Hauck Architects, Darien
859 Post Road, 203.655.9340