Breuer House II
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Architect Marcel Breuer
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Location New Canaan, Connecticut   map
Date 1948   timeline
Building Type architect's house
 Construction System wood frame, vertical wood siding
Climate temperate
Context rural, sloping site
Style Modern
Notes long cantilever deck, shallow shed roof, linear plan.
Images

 

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Drawings

 


Upper Plan Drawing

Detail Drawing

Drawing

Lower Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing
Plan Drawing

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Discussion Breuer House II Commentary

"Marcel Breuer's own house—Breuer House I—was built on a hillside. It was a small yet very open house, based on a rectangular plan, with the main living accommodation on the upper floor. A workshop was situated beneath it, together with other ancillary domestic accommodation."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p165.

"The structural theme of this hillside house is the daring yet disciplined use of the cantilever. Breuer had been experimenting with using frame walls as trusslike members, and here this potential inherent in wood frame construction is exploited to the utmost. The building cantilevers from its whitewashed concrete base in four directions. To reinforce the truss effect of the frame walls, Breuer has employed diagonal boarding. It is noteworthy that the resulting floating appearance of the house has been achieved without the use of steel structural members. Tension cables of standard marine rigging support the balcony."

— from Cranston Jones, captions and introduction. Marcel Breuer: Buildings and Projects 1921-1961. p222.

The Creator's Words

"Architecture is changing today, and while this is nothing new—change was and is part of the philosophy of a new architecture—we can perhaps say that tendencies which have been there from the beginning, but latent, are appearing on the surface with an accelerated speed and vigor. At this moment I am particularly interested to see which of these changes are due to moods or fashions and which are due to the developments of a creative and long-term drive behind our work. Is there such a thing as a long-term direction in modern architecture?

"I believe there is—with allowances for individual waves, for the ups and downs, rights and lefts, forwards and backwards of thoughts, and with allowances for our errors and for our desperate doubts about progress. Still, I believe in progress. I am convinced that a factory worker of today with his five-day week and seven-hour day, with his automobile, or bicycle, or bus, or even subway, with his children in schools, and with his bathroom, has better tools for happiness than a factory worker of two hundred or two thousand years ago. He probably does not know yet how to use those tools to full advantage. He may yet have to learn how to balance and coordinate the achievements of progress. But in any case, the availability of the components is a positive factor."

— Marcel Breuer. from Cranston Jones, captions and introduction. Marcel Breuer: Buildings and Projects 1921-1961. p9.

Resources
Sources on Breuer House II

Peter Blake. Marcel Breuer, Architect and Designer. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1949. exterior photo thru trees, p101, plate 178.

Edward Ford. The Details of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. ISBN 0-262-06121-X. LC 89-31772. NA2840.F67 1989. exterior phtoto, f10.48, structure axon, f10.49, construction section/axon, f10.50, p318.   Highly recommended for serious observers, and available at Amazon.com

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. exterior photo from below, structure perspective drawing, plan drawing, p164. — Available at Amazon.com

Cranston Jones and Marcel Breuer. Marcel Breuer: Buildings and Projects 1921-1961. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962. LC 62-21001. NA737.B68A45 1963. LC 62-21001. discussion p9, p222.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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