Celebrating Modernism in Connecticut

Carolyn Kelly Exhibitions

While the most visible works of modern architecture are generally the most celebrated—Lever House or the Seagram Building, for example—the recent public opening of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, showed that the private residences of modern architects can offer tremendous insight into their individual design philosophies. New Canaan became a center for modern architecture in the late 1940s when the “Harvard Five” architects—Marcel Breuer, Landis Gore, John Johansen, Eliot Noyes, and Johnson—each chose to build their own homes there. More than one hundred modern houses were built in the area by the end of the 1970s, which were recently surveyed through a partnership between the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism (CCT) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and documented by the Building Conservation Associates of New York City. To illuminate the significance of these residences, the CCT Gallery (One Constitution Plaza, 2nd floor, Hartford) has organized the exhibition Living Modern in New Canaan, which is on view through June 19, and offers a glimpse into several notable homes through photographs, architectural models, a small selection of furnishings, and period literature and film clips.

To coincide with the exhibition, the Hartford Preservation Alliance is hosting a free walking tour of Hartford’s modern architectural landmarks tomorrow at 11:30 am (meeting at the CCT Gallery). Included are I.M. Pei’s Bushnell Tower, Fulmer and Bowers’ 1961 Broadcast House, and Burr Mall with Alexander Calder’s Stegosaurus. Following the tour at 2 pm is a lecture at the Wadsworth Atheneum by Dietrich Neimann, professor of modern architecture at Brown University and a visiting professor at Yale.

Additional free lunchtime walking tours will be presented on May 19, 21, 26, and 28 (departing from the CCT Gallery at noon). For more information, call 860-256-2800 or www.ctvisit.com.