Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media
As a drone circled above, a blue plastic cover was lifted off the Mirror House at the corner of Maple Street and South Avenue, a new venue to promote plans for a future New Canaan Library.
Inside the 224-square foot three-sided mirrored building, visitors will learn about plans for the 48,000-square-foot library designed to echo mid-century modern architecture.
“This Mirror House, inspired by our own Glass House and designed in Europe, is going to be our headquarters for sharing the plans and meeting with people to build support, doing education and hopefully a lot of fundraising,” New Canaan Library Executive Director Lisa Oldham said at Tuesday’s ceremony.
The coronavirus pandemic forced changes to the project, reducing the number of people allowed inside at any one time.
“The incredibly clever people who work at the library have devised a way to use technology — augmented reality — so that people can do self-guided tours of the project inside this space,” Oldham said.
Visitors are encouraged to download the library app to cell phones, then by directing their cell phones toward either the poster near the entrance or one of eight posters inside, can watch videos about the vision for the new building.
People can watch explanations delivered by architects, staff, volunteers involved in planning, and Margaret Russell, former editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest.
“I am so excited that this library celebrates the legacy of the Harvard Five and the best of mid-century modernism that flourished in New Canaan,” Russell says in the video.
“I think that the new library plan is so beautiful in that it references modernism of the past, but absolutely navigates everything we need for the present and is incredibility prescient to what we need for the future — a very anticipatory building in terms of its materials and it flexibility,” Russell says.
The Mirror House was designed by OOD, an Estonian design team strongly influenced by Philip Johnson’s Glass House and mid-century modern architects, including the Harvard Five, whose work is also echoed in the new library design, according to a press release distributed by the library.
“The best libraries today, moving forward, reflect that communities that they serve,” Oldham said at the event. “In the past, every one (library) looked