Feb 23, 2017
New Canaan has become a household word in many parts of the world declared House and Home magazine in January 1953. Between 1947 and 1966 architects Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, Philip Johnson and Eliot Noyes known as the Harvard Five designed houses for themselves and their clients in the quiet New England community of New Canaan, Connecticut.
Breuer was an instructor at the Graduate School of Design and the others were students when Harvard became the first architectural school in the country to replace the traditional Beaux Arts-based curriculum with the new Bauhaus teaching methodology. These architects were the first wave trained in the new discipline, and their fresh talents were unleashed on the small, conservative town. Other architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Edward Durell Stone, also contributed landmark modern houses.
At the leading edge of midcentury design, these houses elicited strong reactions from nearly everyone who saw them when they were built, and they are still astonishing today. For over half a century architecture enthusiasts from around the world have come to catch a glimpse of these icons, most famously Philip Johnsons Glass House, nestled in the wooded landscape.
William D. Earls, AIA PC is the author of The Harvard Five in New Canaan: Midcentury Modern Houses by Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, Philip Johnson, Eliot Noyes, and Others (2006, W.W. Norton), featuring 35 landmark houses constructed 1947-1966, (many of which have been demolished) in chronological order, with photographs and floor plans.