Iconic Houses Conference 2018
With more exclusive house tours, more authoritative speakers, and more knowledge-sharing networking activities than ever before, Iconic Houses’ fifth international conference is its most ambitious event yet.
Taking place from May 15th to 18th at Dolce Norwalk in Norwalk, CT, the conference – on the theme Modernism on the East Coast – highlights the importance of modernist residential architecture worldwide, and the urgent need to safeguard its future.
The conference explores the early days of Modernism on the USA’s East Coast following its arrival from Europe. The New Canaan area has an impressive number of high-quality Modernist homes because the architects who taught at Harvard built houses for themselves and their friends here.
Many are the work of the Harvard Five: Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Eliot Noyes, Landis Gores and John Johansen. These unique homes will be the focus of the lectures and conference house tours.
Wednesday, May 16
(optional pre-conference session)
The Marcel Breuer House in the Pocantico Hills of Tarrytown; Russel Wright’s home and studio Manitoga in Garrison; the Usonia community and the Roland Reisley House (Frank Lloyd Wright), a Usonian Home in Pleasantville, NY.
Thursday, May 17
Philip Johnson masterpieces including his own iconic Glass House and three private houses; the Alice Ball House; the Boissonas House and Hodgson House.
Friday, May 18
Harvard Five masterpieces including the family home of Eliot Noyes; the Gores Pavilion by Landis Gores; the John Rayward House, Tirranna, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last grand works and Richard Meier’s iconic Smith House in Darien.
Saturday, May 19 – Monday, May 21
An optional three-day post-conference trip to the modest Modernist holiday homes on Cape Cod, which also takes in Cambridge and ends with Boston’s Walter Gropius House. Tours on Cape Cod include houses designed by Serge Chermayeff, Jack Hall, Paul Weidlinger and Charlie Zehnder.
Key stakeholders – curators, owners, restoration architects and residents of iconic houses – reflect a wide spectrum of knowledge, perspectives, and opinions.
Keynote speaker, architect, museum professional, teacher and critic Terence Riley, was Philip Johnson Chief Curator for Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he championed contemporary and Modernist architecture. He will discuss Philip Johnson’s role in popularizing Modernism in the USA.
The other keynote speaker is noted architectural historian Jorge Francisco Liernur, Emeritus Professor of the History of Architecture, Torcuato di Tella University, Buenos Aires (Argentina) and co-curator of MoMA’s exhibition (2015) Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980. He will share his insights on the origin of the Modern house in Latin America.
The conference program also includes expert sessions and case studies devoted to the vital topics of fundraising for house museums and viable alternatives to the house-museum model.
Representatives of The National Trust for Historic Preservation (USA), Realdania By Byg (Denmark), Cape Cod Modern House Trust (USA) and the Heritage Houses Trust (Japan) ensure an international perspective. Moderating is Chandler McCoy, who runs the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) as Senior Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute.
Iconic Houses is the international platform connecting architecturally significant 20th-century houses that are open to the public as house museums. It focuses on conservation, management, policy, and
cooperation. The website, www.iconichouses.org, lists 150 house museums worldwide and was launched in 2012.
The Organizing Board consists of house museum directors Natascha Drabbe (Van Schijndel House Utrecht/Iconic Houses Founding Director), Iveta Cerna (Villa Tugendhat), Janice Lyle (Sunnylands Center and Gardens) and Lynda Waggoner (Fallingwater).