Modernism Week Goes to New Canaan

Experience the highlights from this year’s trip to New Canaan!

Each year, a group of modernism enthusiasts travel around the world to experience the best in design and architecture with Modernism Week. In Fall 2021, we were fortunate to visit New Canaan, CT during the New Canaan Modern House Day Tour and Symposium, produced by the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society.

Highlights of this year’s trip included home tours, an evening reception at the stunning new headquarters of BassamFellows (Philip Johnson’s first commercial structure in 1952), a tour of the Grace Farms River Building designed by SANAA, and a catered brunch at the Philip Johnson-designed Glass House.

“Brunch was in the Painting Gallery and we were surrounded by huge Frank Stella masterworks,” recalls Modernism Week Board Member Mark Davis. “We had the run of the property, including the iconic Glass House — this was probably the highlight of the tour for everyone.  Not often does one have brunch in Johnson’s painting gallery and full run of his house! They also opened their gift shop for private shopping — one of the best gift shops in the country.  Some heavy shopping was done!”

Architect Bruce Redman Becker, FAIA led a special hard hat tour of Marcel Breuer’s brutalist masterpiece, The Pirelli Tire Building also known as the Armstrong Rubber Building (1968-1970). Becker + Becker is currently transforming the structure into the Hotel Marcel – soon-to-be the first Passive House-listed hotel and one of only 11 Platinum LEED-rated hotels in the nation. One of the most ambitious and thoughtful adaptive reuse projects to date, this sustainable property will be powered by solar panels and massive batter power storage. We can’t wait to hear Bruce share more about this exciting endeavor during this February 21 talk for Modernism Week.

In addition to the homes featured on the New Canaan Modern House Day Tour, Modernism Week guests were treated to a bonus private tour of Noyes II (1955) and the Arthur and Lyn Chivvis House (1978), both designed by architect Eliot Noyes.

Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

Ending the trip with a walking tour of Yale University was an architectural delight, with extraordinary examples of modernist architecture by Philip Johnson, Eero Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Louis Kahn, Gwathmey and Seigel, Paul Rudolph, and a modernist masterpiece, the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library by Gordon Bunshaft.  

Thanks to the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society, Bruce Becker, the Chivvis Family, Frederick Noyes, and each of this year’s participants for making our modernist adventure to New Canaan one to remember!