Take a drive around New Canaan and you are sure to see some oval historic home plaques gracing 90 homes throughout the town. These plaques signify that the homes are 100 years old or older, and are a way of celebrating the town’s history. More than just adding some charm and interest, these homes have been thoroughly researched, and in many cases, these properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, providing tangible examples of the story of our nation.
But New Canaan has a unique character in that these historic homes exist side by side with scores of Modern houses. The town is widely known for these houses designed in the decades after World War II by some of the nation’s best Modern architects.
The Modern movement began in New Canaan in 1947, and for the next five years the town became the showcase of six architects who were trained in the revolutionary approach. Marcel Breuer, Eliot Noyes, John Johansen, Landis Gores, Philip Johnson and Victor Christ-Janer bought land in New Canaan and proceeded to design and built extraordinary modern houses.
The early modern houses were hard for the town to understand. The homes, built of glass and having a different use of space and proportions, seemed shocking. Traditionalists criticized, but crowds attended house tours, and over time, the homes became a source of pride to the community.
The New Canaan Historical Society has long embraced the Modern movement, and over the years it has hosted Modern house tours and educational symposiums, was a lead sponsor of a Modern Homes Survey and today operates and maintains the Gores Pavilion, which serves as a museum and cultural center highlighting the legacy of New Canaan's modern architects and architecture.
The New Canaan Historical Society is proud to announce its latest step in celebrating the Modern movement; the creation of plaque program for New Canaan Modern homes. To participate in the program a home must be constructed prior to 1980. Publication in an architecture journal, inclusion in one of New Canaan’s Modern house tours or a listing in the Modern Homes Survey is also required. For those homes that qualify, the Society is pleased to offer a plaque designed by renowned architect, and New Canaan resident, Alan Goldberg, FAIA.
“We are fortunate to have this architectural legacy in our town and delighted to provide this opportunity to the Modern homeowner,” said Janet Lindstrom, Executive Director of the New Canaan Historical Society. “These plaques, with their clean and simple design, are appropriate for the aesthetics of the modern homes that qualify for the program.”
If you are interested in determining whether your Modern home is eligible for the program, please contact the New Canaan Historical Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 203-966-1776. To view the Modern Homes Survey, which identifies 91 Modern houses in the community, visit www.nchistory.org
About the New Canaan Historical Society
The New Canaan Historical Society seeks to educate and enlighten the public in an atmosphere that is welcoming, friendly and fun by offering innovative educational exhibitions and programs for adults, children and families. The New Canaan Historical Society is a not-for-profit, privately supported, educational facility. Please visit www.nchistory.org for more information.