For the upcoming Iconic Houses Conference,  2-8 June 2020, please follow this link >


Welcome from Iconic Houses

The Iconic Houses Foundation is proud to present its 5th International Conference from 15-18 May 2018 at Dolce Norwalk, CT, USA. The lectures on the two conference days 17 and 18 May will be devoted to two themes:

Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five

In 2016 we explored modern architecture on the West Coast of the US, more in particular in Southern California, with our conference in Los Angeles, organized with the Getty Conservation Institute. This time we will explore the East Coast of the USA, retracing the root taken by Modernism when it arrived from Europe. In particular, 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. New Canaan is naturally mainly associated with the Glass House. And many of the other masterpieces are the work of Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five. In the 1940s, a group of five architects from Harvard, inspired by the ideas of Bauhaus that Walter Gropius brought with him from Europe, settled in New Canaan, CT, where they stirred up an experimental modernist movement in the sleepy New England town. These unique homes will be the focus of the conference house tours.
Experts will offer an insight about the role of architect Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five in Architectural History of the 20th century. And there are visits to the private masterpieces in and around New Canaan during the afternoon hours of the two lecture days. 

Iconic Houses in Latin America

Iconic Houses in Latin America aims to promote engagement, cooperation and strengthen ties between North America, Europe and Latin America and bring on the radar the house museums that are doing well and those houses that are threatened with demolition or closure. Representatives of house museums of several Latin American countries will give examples of their struggle to survive or share with us their successful survival strategies. 

Add-on Events

In Pre- and Post-Conference House Tours Modernism will be explored in a wider area around New Canaan. The Pre-Conference tours bring us to the house that Marcel Breuer originally designed for an exhibition in the MoMA garden and that is replaced to Kykuit in Tarrytown, a Usonian Home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pleasantville, and also takes in Russel Wright's home Manitoga in Garrison.There’s also a Post-Conference Tour of the modest Modernist holiday homes on Cape Cod which also takes in Cambridge and ends with the Gropius House in Boston. This Post-Conference Tour is organized in cooperation with the Cape Cod Modern House Trust for Iconic Houses Members and recurring Friends of Iconic Houses.   


We thank our lead sponsor American Express and other generous sponsors for their support. The conference is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York  • Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands • WJE - Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. • KSM Architecture • Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.

Home Owners/Site Partners

We would like to extend thanks also to the homeowners and site partners who will be hosting our visits: Sandra and Richard Bergmann, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Marcel Breuer House in Pocantico, Roland Reisley, Manitoga, Craig Bassam and Scott Fellows, Reja Bakh, Bill Matassoni and Pamela Valentine, Chuck Smith, Fred Noyes, Lia and Diego Ferro, Mattie Roberts-Whitney and Eric Whitney, Cape Cod Modern House Trust, Peter Chermayeff and Historic New England. A special thanks to Janet Lindstrom, former director of the New Canaan Historical Society and Inger Stringfellow, who are incredible sources of knowledge about Modernist architecture in Connecticut and who generously shared that with us.

We look forward to exploring the modernist heritage on the East Coast with you! We hope that you get inspired to become more involded with our platform for professional discussion: to share not only the best practises but also encourage each other to develop new activities. Previous conference encounters have resulted in fruitful cooperations. I'm confident our 2018 conference will be no exception.

We look forward to meeting you in May!



Natascha Drabbe  

Conference Chair and Founding Director Iconic Houses Network

Hilary Lewis

Conference Co-Chair and Chief Curator & Creative Director at The Glass House


Foundation Board                Advisory Board

Hendrik-Jan de Ru, Chair         Iveta Cerna, director Villa Tugendhat

Huub Wüst, Treasurer             Janice Lyle, director Sunnylands

Hetty Berens                          Susanna Pettersson, past director Aalto Foundation    

                                            Lynda Wagoner, director Fallingwater


For the Architecture Notes and the latest information on the conference program, please consult our website:



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