Preservation easement secures the future of Eliot Noyes’ 1954 family home

Preservation easement secures the future of Eliot Noyes’ 1954 family home

Famed for its architectural cache, the town of New Canaan in Connecticut is considered a hotbed of design, both historical and contemporary. This reputation stems back to the arrival of the so-called Harvard Five (the group of architects comprised of Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, John M. Johansen, Landis Gores and Eliot Noyes), who settled there together in the mid-1940s.

While Johnson’s Glass House certainly needs no introduction, Eliot Noyes’ renowned 1954 family home (known as the Noyes House II) is currently commanding attention. Thanks to a preservation easement that was signed with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation last month, the Noyes’ family (who still own the house) has ensured that the legacy and original design intent of the home will be loyally protected and preserved through future ownerships.

Noyes was undoubtedly one of America’s leading figures in design and architecture. A student of Walter Gropius, as were the other five, he became the first director of industrial design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and was also a founding figure in Aspen’s Design conference. Amongst his other achievements, he counts the design of IBM’s Selectric typewriter (1961) and championing the careers of Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen in his curatorial role.

Noyes moved his family to New Canaan in the mid-1940s. He designed the Noyes House II with the intention of expanding his family’s footprint while also expressing his design ideals. With one wing devoted to bedrooms and rest, and a parallel wing designated for gathering, the house is brought together by an open-air courtyard that gracefully unites the two separate functions.

‘Our family is proud to establish this easement with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to ensure the longevity of this house’s remarkable design. Preserving this house is our contribution to the larger story of New Canaan as a nexus of design representing new ideas,’ says Fred Noyes, son of Eliot Noyes. §

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