In the years after World War II, when West Coast architects were building the famous Case Study houses—bold experiments in bringing modern design to the masses—another group of avant-garde architects was shaking up woodsy New Canaan, Connecticut, an hour northeast of Manhattan. Among them were Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, and Eliot Noyes, all of them trained in Cambridge by the Bauhaus master Walter Gropius and quickly dubbed the Harvard Five. Their creations, the most famous of which is Philip Johnson's Glass House, were at first considered "scandalous and shocking," according to architect William D. Earls's book, The Harvard Five. The 2006 imprint by W.W. Norton shows why, presenting the houses in crisp black-and-white photos from the 1940s through the '60s. (Since then many have been preserved, but some have been torn down, and others have been altered beyond recognition.) offers tours of the remaining houses and helps find sympathetic buyers when the iconic buildings, nearly all of them still in private hands, come on the market.
Want to see how a young family turned a neglected glass house into a family-friendly retreat? Click here!