Emma Hartman Noyes House, architect Eero Saarinen
Saarinen’s major works include the General Motors Technical Center, Warren, MI (1955) the Ingalls Ice Rink (1958) and the Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges (1961) at Yale University, the TWA Flight Center at the JFK Airport (1962), Dulles International Airport (1962), the MIT Chapel, and the Gateway Arch, St. Louis (1965). Noyes House was one of three modernist buildings constructed by President Sarah Blanding: Chicago Hall and the Dexter M. Ferry Cooperative House are the other two. Noyes was planned to be in two pieces––but only one was built. Saarinen also proposed a master plan for the campus.
Noyes House and the plans for the campus proved to be an ideal thesis topic. It was conceived by Nicholas Adams and undertaken by Vanessa Beloyianis (VC ’08), who made a number of remarkable discoveries in the course of her work. Tipped off by a roommate who had heard about someone who had ventured into the basement of Main and seen what appeared to be a model for Noyes, she undertook a search of the Main basement, together with Prof. Adams and Bryan Corrigan from Buildings & Grounds, where they located the model. Cleaned and restored it is now in the Loeb Art Center, where it was the subject of a 2009 exhibition, together with drawings and blueprints for the building. Vanessa was also able to locate the master plans for the campus, previously unknown and undocumented. These events form the dramatic backdrop to the thesis that you can read here.
Eero Saarinen and Associates, Architectural model of the Emma Hartman Noyes House, 1956. Mixed media. Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, 2009.24. Dimensions: 10 x 48 3/4 x 48 3/4 in. (25.4 x 123.83 x 123.83 cm).
Top row: the model c. 1956; Middle row left: the model as discovered in 2008, before restoration; Middle row right and third row: the model after restoration by Margo Delidow and Eric Meier, 2008. (All photos courtesy of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center)