06 January 2008

Great Houses and Houses Architects Built for Themselves

It was fascinating a couple of months ago to hear John Black Lee, sitting in the living room of a beautiful and modest house he designed in New Canaan, say that he thought there were only five great houses in the United States: Fallingwater; the Glass House; a house Lee himself designed and Toshiko Mori updated, on Chichester Road in New Canaan (he called it Lee House number 2); Johnson’s Boissonnas house, and the Kaufman house, which Richard Neutra designed, in Palm Springs (my original post, a longish account of New Canaan’s Modern House Day, is here).

What called it to mind was a list that I came upon recently on a site called LottaLiving.com of 50 houses designed by modern architects for themselves. The houses are from all over and include three in New Canaan – the Glass House, Breuer’s house on Sunset Hill Road, and Eliot Noyes’s house (the other two-fifths of New Canaan’s Harvard Five – Landis Gores and John Johansen – were omitted). Nineteen of the 50 are (or were) in California, six in Illinois, and three each in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida. I’ve been in four of the 50: Breuer, Noyes, the Gropius house in Lincoln, Mass., and the Franzen house in Rye, N.Y. Take a look at all 50, here (there are a lot of good pictures). -- TA

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