A Tremendous Triangle

Iconic modernist house in Connecticut by renowned architect John Black Lee reduced in price by 60%


Award winning architect John Black Lee (1924 – 2016) was born in Chicago and took influence from the ‘Harvard Five’ architects Marcel Breur and Philip C. Johnson. He built, for his own occupation, a house 48 miles outside of New York at 160 Mill Road, New Caanan in Fairfield County, Connecticut and now, following his death at the age of 91, it is for sale.



A Quaker and Brown educated, Black Lee, is often referenced as the ‘Sixth of the Harvard Five’ and is best known for the ‘Desilver House’ he built in 1961. He worked as an apprentice carpenter for Walter Gropius, was a father of three and also wrote a book about free diving.


Construction of 160 Mill Road – or the ‘Triangle House’ as some have referenced it – commenced in 1990 and though it is “unfinished”, Black Lee lived there for 25 years. It stands above the Silvermine River and is built on its banks and into the hill. Made entirely from concrete, the 1,980 square foot property features an open floor plan with a cantilevered terrace, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.


Of the property, which stands in 2.54 acres of land, Black Lee once remarked: “This house is the only one in New Canaan that you enter through a skylight” and amongst its features are a massive triangular brick fireplace that anchors the building, a skylight that floods light throughout and views across the surrounding wilderness.


In August 2016, selling agent Susan Blabey of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty spoke about the house to The Hour. She commented:


“You could never duplicate this house, but it could be finished. They wouldn’t let you build it like this today, this close to the water. It just needs someone who wants to roll up their sleeves and polish the apple”.


On the market for at least 138 days and close to the Silvermine Golf Course, 160 Mill Road was originally priced at £1.2 million ($1.5 million or €1.4 million or درهم‎‎5.5 million) and has now been reduced by 60% to just £471,000 ($750,000 or €658,000 or درهم‎‎2.8 million). Taxes stand at £9,028 ($11,409 or €10,740 or درهم‎‎41,900) per year – which will unlikely trouble the eventual purchaser: New Canaan has the highest median family income in the United States.


The likely buyer? A modernist design fan looking for a truly unique weekend retreat.


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