The houses were designed with expansion in mind, and over time many of the homes have been renovated and enlarged. Houses in the 1950 ’s were built with little regard for energy conservation, in the belief that nuclear power would make energy “Too cheap to meter…” a concept hard to believe today. Insulation has been added and windows have been updated. Solar panels now adorn a number of exteriors, along with decks and balconies. Additions have expanded many houses to accommodate state of the art kitchens, modern bathrooms, and larger bedrooms for growing families and differing needs.
Mid-Century Modern Roots
Architect Carl Koch designed a home with many individual variations: one, two or three stories; slab on grade or walk-out basements; differing lengths; one or two fireplaces; and multiple window options. The floor to ceiling expansive windows, characteristic of all the homes, bring the outdoors into the modern, clean spaces.
The houses were carefully sited to take advantage of the configuration of the land, views, and to preserve as much of the natural environment as possible. The community amenities were also sited and connected to the homes via an extensive trail system.
Carl Koch took the name “Conantum” from Henry David Thoreau’s term for the Kalmia Woods area where the neighborhood was built. Koch went on to several other prefabrication projects—including work on the Lustron homes and his successful Techbuilt company—as well as designing modern communities. (Interested in historic Techbuilt documents? View Part 1 or Part 2.)
Architecture in the News
September 10, 2015
Posted by Rebecca Migdal, an independent scholar of American material culture, is guest curator for the Concord Museum’s exhibition Middlesex County Modern, showcasing mid-century modern architecture and design from Concord and surrounding towns. Middlesex County Modern is on view from October 9, 2015 until March 20, 2016.
November 19, 2013
Review of Conantum history and architecture on the ModernMass website.