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USModernist Eliot Noyes
 
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ELIOT FETTE NOYES, FAIA (1910-1977)

Born in Boston MA, Noyes graduated Andover Academy in 1928 and Harvard University in Architecture in 1932, majoring in English, Greek, and Latin. He entered the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1932 and was frustrated by their Beaux-Arts approach.  In 1935, he was hired for his painting and drafting skills by archaeological team from the University of Chicago excavating Persepolis, an ancient city in modern-day Iran. Upon return to Harvard in 1937, he went back to Graduate School of Design under Walter Gropius and graduated in 1938.After working for Boston's Coolidge Shepley Bulfinch & Abbott, he left to work for Gropius and Marcel Breuer. Awarded a Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship, he toured the US visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and Taliesin; Eliel Saarinen's Cranbrook Academy of Art; and Richard Neutra houses, plus he spent time in Mexico. After returning briefly to Gropius and Breuer, he became the first director of the Industrial Design Department at the Museum of Modern Art in 1940, launching Charles and Ray Eames as part of a competition that Noyes started. 

Noyes left MoMA in 1946 to become the design director for Norman Bel Geddes, an industrial designer of cars, planes, trains, and boats. When Bel Geddes's firm folded in 1947, Noyes continued developing IBM's Model A electric typewriter design introduced in 1948. Noyes also served three years as Associate Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University.

Noyes is recognized for his design of the World's Fair pavilions for IBM at Brussels, Belgium, and San Antonio, Texas; the Westinghouse Pavilion at the New York World's Fair; and the United Nations Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal, Canada. He is well-known for transforming major companies, such as the iconic round gas pumps and round roofs for Mobil gas stations; and the IBM Education Center in Armonk NY.

Noyes married architect Mary "Molly" Duncan Weed (1915-2010) who created many of the interiors for Noyes' projects.  He wrote a column for Consumer Reports 1947-1954, plus a book, Organic Design and Home Furnishings, in 1941. His New Canaan CT house (Noyes II) was profiled in LIFE Magazine (2/15/63) where he also wrote an article.

"One thing I am not going to become is a guy who is called in to change the expression on the corporate face by hanging abstract paintings on the office walls." -- Eliot Noyes




1941 - The Jackson House, 33 Farm Street, Dover MA.
Designed with G. Holmes Perkins.  Addition by Noyes in 1948. Alterations in 1990.

1947 - The Eliot Noyes House I, 51 Lambert Road, New Canaan CT.  Destroyed in 2005. Do you have a photo?


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1949 - The Ogden Kniffin House, Turtleback Road, New Canaan CT. Designed with Marcel Breuer. Destroyed. Photos by Wayne Andrews/ESTO, Ben Schnall, and Walter Sanders.


'Tallman House' by Eliot Noyes (Birds Eye)

1950 - The Tallman House, 1578 Ponus Ridge Road, New Canaan CT.  Destroyed in 2003.


1950 - The Margaret Knowles House, Nonquit MA.  Designed for Eliot's sister.  Deeded to her children and grandchildren.


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1951 - The Nina and Paul Bremer House, 60 Windrow Lane, New Canaan CT.  Commissioned 1950. Built by Borglum & Meek.  The Harvard Five often congregated at the Bremer House for parties. Featured in the February 1953 House & Home. Noyes did a guesthouse in 1953. Kitchen and bedrooms remodeled around 1968 with a pool added in 1969. Sold by the Bremer Trust in 2004 to Stephen Dayton.


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1951 - The Brown House, 81 Cross Ridge Road, New Canaan CT. Top photo by David Sundberg/ESTO.  Sold in 2003 to David Prutting who hired architect Joeb Moore for a renovation and second story addition, built by Prutting. While Moore kept the Noyes vibe, there is not much left of the original. Moore also renovated the pool house and cabana.  Sold in 2014 to Philip Tookey. Sold in 2018.


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1951 - The Ault House, 90 Lambert Road, New Canaan CT.  Built for an art collector. Sold to Alexander and Joan Feick. Sold in 2018 to Christian Madsbjerg.


1951 - The Mosley House, 59 Arrowhead Trail, New Canaan CT.  Sold in 1994 to Mark Dewaele. Destroyed in 1995. 



1951 - The Stackpole House, 928 Ponus Ridge Road, New Canaan CT.  Photo by Bill Earls. Destroyed in 2000.




1952 - The John and Frances Hersey House, 361 Hulls Highway, Southport CT.  Was possibly numbered 351 previously. Commissioned 1951. Sold to Lindamir Realty in 1972. Sold in 1994 to Chung and Alison Lew.

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1952 - The Weeks House, 310 Valley Road, New Canaan CT.  Sold to James Lee. Sold in 1993 to John and Sally Hough.  Sold in 2005 to Felipe Ferand.


1953 - The Austin E. Briggs House, Chestnut Woods Road, Redding CT.  He was the cartoonist of 1940's Flash Gordon fame. Sold in the 1970's.


1953 - The John Senior Jr. Addition. No photo or address. Do you have one?


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1954 - aka Yellow Bubble House, 9096 Southeast Venus Road, Hobe Sound FL.  Sold in 2011 to Blake Cilwick who destroyed it in 2012. As of May 2019 the land is still vacant.

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1954 - aka White Bubble House, 9086 Southeast Venus Street, Hobe Sound, FL.  Sold in 2011 to Geraldine Muir.


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1954 - The General Electric Wonder Home.  Unbuilt.  General Electric approached Noyes and asked if he would design a house for an exhibitiion depicting the American home of 1964, ten years in the future with all the attributes of modern life pre-molded in.  Noyes created four insulated plastic segments bolted together with criss-crossed aluminum ribs that created the four legs of the structure - like a table - leaving the sides open to large expanses of glass.


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1954 - The Walter Bareiss House Addition, 11 Deer Park Court, Greenwich CT.  Original home built in 1936, Noyes did an additional wing and merged an old house with a new one to accommodate a growing art collection and family. Walter died in 2007 and the house was sold for the first time to Daniel and Sharon Green. For sale in 2019.


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1955 - The Eliot and Molly Noyes House II, 210 Country Club Road, New Canaan CT. Deeded to the Noyes Family Partnership/Fred Noyes.  Put under preservation easement in 2019 with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Photos by Michael Biondo.


1956 - The Bernhard House, Port Chester NY.


1956 - The Eliot Noyes Family Summer House, Martha's Vineyard, Chilmark MA. No photo. Do you have one?


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1959 - The Simonsen Vacation House, 37 Flanders Lane, Martha's Vineyard, Chilmark MA.  Renovated by his son, Fred Noyes.  Sold to Flanders Lane Ltd. 


The Ohly Residence in Killington was designed by architect Eliot Noyes. Photo by Donald M. Kreis Vermont, Modern Architecture, My Dream Home, My Dream House

Around 1960 - aka Ohly Ski House, Killington VT. The town was formerly called Shelburne VT.


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1961 - The Eliot Noyes Ski House, Killington VT. The town was formerly called Shelburne VT.


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1962 - The Talbot and Claire Rantoul House, 4 Glacier Glen, Martha's Vineyard, Chilmark MA.  Featured in LIFE Magazine. Still owned by the Rantoul daughters as a vacation rental.


 

1966 - The Rob Graf House, 62 Moriarity Drive, Wilton CT.  Project architect, Rob Graf, who worked for Noyes. Noyes had nothing to do with this house.  Sold to Leon C. Hirsch who did a massively renovation. Sold in 2007 to Ray Raymakers. Sold in 2018 to Crystal Ellis and Kenny Ulloa. 


1966 - The McKay Vacation House, Stratton VT.   Status unknown.


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1969 - The Preston House, Martha's Vineyard, Chilmark MA.  Son Fred Noyes was the restoration architect, primarily renovation of the kitchen. Deeded to Fred Noyes' sister and her family.  Renovated by Fred Noyes.


The front. Hydrangas-a-go-go. The den/Dining and lower family room end.

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The west end of the living room. The kitchen which is mainly as it was.

The dining room from the top of the stair. The deck was added during the design process when the owner, standing on the rock outside looked up at the den windows some 20 feet above and asked Noyes, "How do I wash those windows?" Noyes thought about it a second and replyed, "You really need a breakfast deck right off the dining room."

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1970 - The Robert C. (Robin) Graham, Jr. House, June Road, Stamford CT.  Commissioned 1968. Located above the Mianus River. Listed in 2012 on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic New England has a preservation easement on the site.


1970 - The Hodgson Vacation House, Snowmass at Aspem CO.  Status unknown.

1974 - The John B. and Marian Horton House, Greenwich CT. Commissioned 1970. Engineering by Thune and Peter Szilyagi. Built by Sam Grasso.  Landscape design by Peter Rolland.  Noyes is on the left in the bottom photo.  Featured in the New York Times, August 14, 1973. Featured in Architectural Record Houses 1974. Destroyed.


'Johnson House' by Eliot Noyes (Birds Eye)

1975 - The Johnson House, 29 Money Point Road, Mystic CT.  Located on Mason's Island. Won the 1975 CT Society of Architects Award.  Sold in 1992 to Cecil and Lana Ursprung. 


1978 - The Mary-Lynette (Lyn) and Arthur Beecher Chivvis, Jr. House, 2 Wydendown Road, New Canaan CT.  Garage added in 1982.  Lyn Chivvis grew up in the Bremer house and purchased this four-acre site in 1976. Still owned by the Chivvis's as of 2019.


Sources include: Son Fred Noyes, Devon Chivvis, Architectural Record Houses, National Trust for Historic Preservation New Canaan Survey, Wikipedia.