Modernist Styles Join Ranks of Historic Homes Sought By New England

Inside The Flansburgh HouseGenerally recognized for setting its sights on the Colonial, Georgian and saltbox styles that the New England area is known for, non-profit preservation organization, Historic New England, has turned their attentions to more Modernist works as part of their efforts maintain the region’s heritage.

The Flansburgh House in Lincoln, Mass., built in 1963, was designed by the late Earl Flansburgh, FAIA (1931-2009) as a private residence for his family. Designed in the Modernist style, the house has now become the second Modern home to be protected with an easement – a legal agreement disallowing alterations of any kind to happen to the residence regardless of ownership changes – under Historic New England’s Stewardship Program. The preservation easement protects everything on site, from exterior elevations and interior features to built-in furniture to the gravel yard and landscape features, as these were part of the original design of the Flansburgh Residence.

Historic New England first began pursuing the protecting and preservation of Modernist homes in 2008, as it had become recognized that the town of Lincoln, Mass. was home to a few iconic Modernist structures that had developed under the influence of, Bauhaus School founder, Walter Gropius.  Mrs. Polly Flansburgh, wife of the late Earl Flansburgh, witnessed notable structures similar to her own home,  torn down only to be replaced by neo-Georgian mansions. While not everyone is a fan of the Modernist style and its apparent incompatibility with the New England climate, Historic New England recognizes its place in the timeline of Lincoln’s development of character and therefore it’s history, which by definition makes its preservation a worthwhile pursuit.

As noted in a New York Times article by writer Abby Goodnough, though there are complications in the preservation of such Modern structures, with their inclusion in preservation efforts comes a nice perk: the ability to learn and get advice from the homes’ original owners.

Photo by Jon Buono via Flickr Creative Commons.


Profile photo of Euginie Kwan About Euginie Kwan

Euginie KwanEuginie Kwan is an architectural professional based in Boston. She received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2011, with a minor concentration in Architectural History.

She believes in an integrated approach to architecture and has experience contributing to residential, commercial, civic and historic preservation projects in a variety of capacities. She has worked for Simonchee Architects (HK) and is always on the lookout for new opportunities to expand her career pursuits. Her professional interests include sustainable technologies, green building, adaptive reuse and historic preservation.

Euginie’s interest in historic architecture and preservation has led to her pursuit of active projects in conservation and adaptive reuse. She has interned with the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation as the Coordinator of the 2012 Winter Workshop series which promotes sustainable retrofit and renovation projects to historic homeowners in the Dane County, WI area, worked with the National Park Service (NPS) to further the development of historical sites in the Greater Boston Area, and conducted research for the Chinese University of Hong Kong for existing and potential restoration projects in the area.

As an avid traveler, and having lived in and experienced various regional and international locales, Euginie is constantly observing architectural trends from different parts of the world as a primary means of influencing her own work. Outside of the world of architecture, she likes to spend her free time reading books, listening to music, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the local animal shelter, and playing as much Ultimate Frisbee as possible.