New Canaan Residence by JSA (Joel Sanders Architect)

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Location: New Canaan, Connecticut, US

Area: 3000 SF + 2600 SF Addition

Year: 2017

Design Architect: John Black Lee in 1957/ JSA (Joel Sanders Architect) 2017

Architect of Record: Ampersand Archtitecture

Landscape Architect: Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture

Contractor: Rico Imbrogno

Lighting: Richard Shaver Lighting Design

Structural/MEP: Sillman

Photography: © Peter Aaron

The challenge posed by the design of this renovation and master bedroom addition was to obey strict zoning requirements in a way that respected the integrity of a significant mid-century modernist home designed by John Black Lee in 1957. New Canaan Residence respects the design integrity of the original mid-century modernist home in a way that reflects contemporary lifestyles. Zoning required that the new addition be aligned with the back of the existing house, resulting in the linear “bar” massing. A continuous roofline visually unifies the new addition with the pitched roof of the existing house.

We liberated the interior of the existing house that was subdivided into a series of small rooms, treating it as one open glazed pavilion. Three freestanding wood-clad service cores subdivide the open volume into three activity zones: kitchen, living/dining and master bedroom. The split bedroom configuration provides privacy between parents, empty nesters who occupy the new master bedroom wing located at the opposite end of the house from their children, young adults who can enjoy independence when they visit. In contrast to the original site plan that treated the house as an object floating in an undifferentiated picturesque landscape, we subdivided the property into four quadrants each one treated as an outdoor room that extends an indoor domestic activity outside.

Joel Sanders Architect


All images courtesy of Joel Sanders Architect


Joel Sanders Architect

Joel Sanders.jpg
Joel Sanders, Principal, RA, AIA


In addition to running his studio based in New York City, Joel is a Professor of Architecture at Yale University. Prior to joining the Yale faculty, he was the Director of the Graduate Program in Architecture at Parsons School of Design and an Assistant Professor at Princeton University. Joel received both a B.A. and M.Arch from Columbia University.

The editor of Stud: Architectures of Masculinity (Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), he frequently writes about art and design, most recently in Pin-up, Art Forum and the Harvard Design Magazine. His monograph, Joel Sanders: Writings and Projects, was published by Monacelli Press in 2005. Groundwork: Between Landscape and Architecture, co-edited with Diana Balmori, was released by Monacelli Press in 2011.

An active member of the design community, he serves on committees and panels on behalf of the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell Colony, American Institute of Architects, Architectural League, and the GSA Peer Review. Joel is also a co-chair of Van Alen Institute’s Program Leadership Council (



New York
89 5th Avenue, Suite 301
New York, NY 10003

Telephone+1 212 431 8751



Joel Sanders Architect


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