Alexandra Lange | Essays

The Modernist State

Any CT readers of this blog should watch “Living Modern in Connecticut” tomorrow night at 9 on CPTV, with additional broadcasts over the weekend. The half-hour show gives a short history of modernism in Connecticut, offering brief tours of the state’s three mid-century hot spots, New Canaan, New Haven and Hartford. It is a primer on the preservation issues facing the architecture of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and manages not to demonize the architecture or the demolishers.

I hadn’t realized it before, but I have done a lot of writing about preserving the work of modern architects who lived or worked in Connecticut, and the show mentions Philip Johnson, Gordon Bunshaft, Eliot Noyes, Paul Rudolph and Eero Saarinen. The episode ends with a building still hanging in the balance, Warren Platner’s Kent Memorial Library. Platner is better known for his restaurants than for his buildings, but this is a beautiful structure, and it would be a tragedy to lose it to the digital age.

Posted in: Media

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