Living Modern in Connecticut Profiles the State’s Extraordinary and Endangered Examples of Mid-Century Modern Architecture

Release Date: 12/01/2010

The Emmy Awarding-Winning Co-Production of Diane Smith Media and CPTV Airs Monday, December 27 at 9:30 p.m. as part of Connecticut’s 375th Anniversary Celebration 

We see them all around us—the iconic buildings of modern architecture in Connecticut—but what if they disappeared? 
 
Built in the middle of the twentieth century these “mid-century moderns” were startling additions to the landscape. They range from the Glass House in New Canaan, to the Phoenix Companies’ “boat building” in Hartford, to a hockey rink shaped like a whale in New Haven, and a “floating tower” on LongWharf
 
The world-renowned architects who designed these buildings took advantage of new technologies and materials to reshape our cities and the suburbs. In Bloomfield the CIGNAWildeBuilding dramatically changed the American workplace. But, just 50 years later, many of these landmarks are threatened.
 
As part of Connecticut’s 375th Anniversary celebration, Living Modern in Connecticut airs Monday, December 27 at 9:30 p.m. on Connecticut Public Television. Host and producer Diane Smith tells the story of these notable buildings, and opens viewers’ eyes to a new era in historic preservation, which, as the documentary makes clear, has progressed far beyond saving that colonial home on the town green.
  
In a stunning review of the bold and innovative designs that set modern buildings apart, Smith tracks the history of the modernist movement in Connecticut. She brings us to New Canaan where modernism flourished after World War II with the arrival of the Harvard Five. This brilliant group of modernist architects settled in the small FairfieldCounty town, built showcase homes that startled their neighbors and influenced architecture across the nation for decades. From New Canaan to New Haven to Main Street in Suffield, Smith examines the increasing threat to modern buildings now considered ‘gems’ in the world of architecture, through interviews with Robert A.M. Stern, the dean of Yale University’s School of Architecture; modernist architect Kevin Roche, designer of the Knights of Columbus headquarters; and architect John Johansen, the last surviving member of the Harvard Five; among others. 
 
Taxpayers, corporations and universities across Connecticut are making decisions about which of these modernist buildings will survive and which must go. The CIGNAWildeBuilding has been rescued, but the New Haven Coliseum is gone, and the Kent Memorial Library in Suffield is endangered. 
 
Why should we care? As architect Jared Edwards says, “Connecticut’s importance during the end of the 20th century is recorded in its architecture. If we don’t have the architecture, there’s no way to tell the story.”
 
Living Modern in Connecticut is a co-production of Diane Smith Media and CPTV, made possible with support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.
 
An Emmy Award-winning television journalist, Diane Smith has been on the air in Connecticut since 1982. Now president of Diane Smith Media, she produced and hosted Positively Connecticut ™ on CPTV as well as the Positively ConnecticutÔ segment on CPTV’s All Things Connecticut magazine series. Diane’s sixth book “A Connecticut Christmas” is in stores now. Diane won the 2010 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism for her lifetime achievements in promoting the arts and tourism in Connecticut. She is a former co-host of the WTIC News-Talk 1080 Morning Show and former news anchor at WTNH-TV.
  
About Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network
CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN/www.
cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing an historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily. The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and/or www.wnpr.org.
 
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