Still have gifts to buy? I strongly suggest Midcentury Houses Today (The Monacelli Press) celebrating the architecture of New Canaan, Connecticut, beautifully captured by photographer Michael Biondo. Written by Jeffrey Matz and Cristina A. Ross, and designed by Lorenzo Ottaviani, Midcentury Houses Today lets you experience 16 stunning residences designed between 1951 and 1978 by Marcel Breuer, Eliot Noyes, Philip Johnson and other masters of modern design.
I was first introduced to Biondo’s work when he was a featured speaker at last year’s New Canaan Historical Modern House Tour. “I’m stating what is so,” is how Biondo explains his photography, and when asked what the key is for taking a great photo he replies, “it’s being there.”
The goal for Midcentury Houses Today was to express the authors’ belief that “modern architecture is not static but seeks to reinvent itself as it adapts to new ways of life.” They succeed brilliantly by sharing the early history of each house as well as the way in which it is lived in today. Each house is an example of how modern architecture can evolve to suit new ways of living, while still being true to the original design.
Breuer House 2 beautifully illustrates the highs and lows a house can go through as different owners come and go. Designed in 1951, architect Marcel Breuer lived here with his family for 24 years. In 1975, new owners hired Breuer’s firm to thoughtfully expand the home. In the 1990s, however, a string of different owners and poorly conceived renovations left the house in chaos. In 2004 it was slated for demolition when a couple saw through the rough spots and fell in love with it. They hired architect Toshiko Mori to restore the structure and expand the wing added in 1975. The result is still true to Breuer’s original design while also being relevant to how we live today.
Inside this book, there are important lessons to be learned for homeowners all over the world. Midcentury Houses Today is a must-have for every library, and it makes a great gift as well. Purchase Midcentury Houses Today at The Monacelli Press.