Coming soon: Modern House Day Tour + Symposium 2009

Modernism Moves Forward is the theme of the '09 MHD, which is being held May 2 in New Canaan, CT. 5 speakers will discuss, from the point of view of their respective disciplines, how Modern homes are being modified to accommodate the requirements of their 21st-century owners. The Symposium + Tour offer an opportunity to hear from foremost experts on modern architecture and design, meet the homeowners, designers and architects themselves, and participate in an in-depth guided tour of some of New Canaan's fine examples of Modern architecture.

The symposium speakers are:

William D. Earls, AIA, author of The Harvard Five in New Canaan will moderate
Bassam/Fellows, design team who integrate architecture, interiors and furniture of their own design, recently featured in the New York Times Magazine
Toshiko Mori, AIA, architect and former dean of Harvard School of Architecture
David Prutting, insightful builder of modern homes in New Canaan
Linnaea Tillett, lighting designer and faculty member at Parsons and Columbia

The program begins at the New Canaan Country School. Breakfast will be served before the seminar starts at 10:00am. House tours will follow the seminar. Attendees will be driven to each house via private tour vans, escorted by an architect or historian of the Modern Movement who will be available to answer questions. Among the homes to be visited will be homes designed by Marcel Breuer, Victor Christ-Janer, Gates and Ford, Alan Goldberg, and John Johansen.

The first Modern House Tour in 1949 attracted more than 3000 visitors. The 2004 and 2007 Tours were sold out. Space is limited to only 200 attendees, and tickets are $250 per person which gets you breakfast, the symposium, the exhibit, lunch, a cocktail reception and transportation from the New Canaan Country School to all tour houses. Symposium only (no tour) tickets are $50.

Note: If you are arriving by train, the symposium location is about 5 miles away and you'll need to take a taxi from the train station.

The '09 MHD Tour + Symposium will benefit The New Canaan Historical Society’s preservation program. – GF

Asking Price Drops for Alice Ball House

Philip Johnson's Alice Ball House, on New Canaan's Oenoke Ridge Road, is now not only for sale, it's ON sale. The owner has reduced the asking price to $2.895 million, down from $3.5 million -- an 18 percent cut. More details are here. -- ta

For Sale

Judging from the real estate notices I keep getting, this doesn't seem like the most propitious time to sell a mid-century modern house in New Canaan. On the other hand, if you're a buyer maybe you can get a (relative) bargain.

John Johansen's Bridge House (shown at left; asking $5 million), Philip Johnson's Alice Ball House (asking $3.5 million), the house Victor Christ-Janer's designed for himself on Frogtown Road (asking a shade under $3.5 million), and a house designed by Taylor Gates ($1.9 million) are among those still on the market. And if you want to live in a 1966 modern/contemporary on the same road as the Bridge House, there's one listed for $1.375 million, down from the original asking price of $1.425 million.

Skip Ploss, by the way, reports that Cristina Ross, who owns the Alice Ball house, "has all of the permits needed to build the second home she wants to build on the site while still preserving the Ball House." - ta

Swiss Buildings and Bridges, Old, Traditional and Modern

The train we take to Zurich on our way home from our February idyll in the Alps passes some terrific old and typically Alpine villages and buildings, and even though we've made the journey each year since 2005, we can't not take more photos.

The train is never very crowded and the big, clean windows open.

The stations are small and the train stops on demand -- like being on a city bus, you have to ring a bell to get it to stop for you. In the third picture here you can see an ancient fort or castle atop the hill.

The fourth shot is of a typical station and then we snapped a picture of the town as we were leaving the station. Klosters is a well-known winter sports destination -- every time we pass through it seems to be snowing, as it was this year.

But in Klosters you suddenly come upon the beautifullt modern Sunniberg Bridge.

We've written before about the juxtaposition of the ancient and modern in Switzerland, and this is a terrific example, particularly because when viewed from the train it comes as such a surprise. - ta