Noyes Family and Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Sign Preservation Easement

to Protect Noyes House in Perpetuity

New Canaan, CT, June 20 – Today the family of Eliot and Molly Noyes signed a preservation easement for their landmark New Canaan Connecticut house, with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.   The Noyes house is one of New Canaan’s crown jewels of Modern Design, underscoring the broader narrative of remarkable architectural exploration for the town in the mid-20th century.  The Connecticut Trust will hold the easement to ensure the home is protected and preserved in its original design intent.  Under the terms of the easement, a private legal agreement between the Noyes family and the Trust, future owners must keep the house in good repair and must obtain permission from the Trust before making any alterations, which must preserve the significant historic and architectural features of the structure.

Eliot Noyes (1910-1977) remains one of America’s leading historic figures in design and architecture.  After studying architecture at Harvard under Walter Gropius, he became the first Director of Industrial Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, a founding figure in Aspen’s Design conference and the leading historic figure in bringing design and architecture as an extension of corporate philosophy and identity to the fore. 

Noyes and his family came to New Canaan in the mid-1940s, where he was the first of the group of architects known locally as the “Harvard Five.”  He designed his first home in 1947. With the intention of expanding the footprint for his family, as well as creating a home which expressed his most clear design ideals, he designed what is now known as the  Noyes House II in 1954.  The house is unique in its simplicity with one wing of rooms for sleeping and a parallel wing for gathering, brought together by an outdoor, open-air courtyard between the two functions.  It was both radical and simple all at once which established it in the firmament of Modern architectural icons. 

“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,” said Fred Noyes, son of Eliot Noyes. “The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation is so pleased to be a partner with the Noyes family in the ongoing stewardship of this remarkable house,” said Jane Montanaro, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. “It is an important landmark in the development and spread of Modern architecture in the United States, a process in which Connecticut played a key role through leaders like Eliot Noyes.”

“Eliot Noyes was a brilliant architect and designer whose work deserves greater study and, certainly, preservation. The home that he built for himself and his family is especially of interest since, like the Glass House by Philip Johnson, it represents the work of a designer untrammeled by the concerns of a client; it is instead the full expression of his architectural ideas at that time,” said Hilary Lewis the Chief Curator & Creative Director of The Glass House, a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Noyes house is privately owned but has been a part of the New Canaan Historical Society’s Modern Tour repeatedly through the years. Access can only be granted by the family at this time. An Advisory Committee has been established that is working in concert with the family to consider possibilities for the future stewardship for the house. Advisory Committee members include:

Cole Akers- Curator and Special Projects Manager of The Glass House

Platon Antoniou- Photographer and New Canaan leader

Abby Bangser- Founder, Object & Thing art and design fair and New Canaan resident

Jon Crane, Graphic Designer, Jon Crane Design Consultants

Michael Biondo- Photographer and New Canaan leader

Gordon Bruce- Industrial Designer and author of “Eliot Noyes” (2006)

Kate and Peter Kend- Supporters of local nonprofits and New Canaan residents

Michael LaFetra- CEO Foundation Films and modern house preservation leader

Hilary Lewis- Architectural Historian, Chief Curator and Creative Director of The Glass House

Christy MacLear- Advisor, Inaugural Executive Director of The Glass House, and New Canaan resident

Frederick Noyes- Architect and son of Eliot Noyes

Gianfranco Zaccai- Industrial Designer, founder of “Intelligence ++, the Zaccai Foundation for Augmented Intelligence”

For additional information, please contact:

Christy MacLear  A private press visit, or interviews with Fred Noyes and leadership at the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, can be coordinated.

Photo Credit: Michael Biondo