Weston — known for its New England vernacular architecture and newer palatial interpretations of Shingle Style, Georgian, and other traditional themes — also has a less-familiar history of modernism.

Beginning in the 1950s, Carl Koch and his Techbuilt company undertook a development on Spruce Hill Road in the King’s Grant neighborhood. The project was not as large or successful as the company’s Conantum neighborhood in Concord. It was more akin to the ambitious Middle Ridge development in Lexington which was started, and the land later sold off, as financial challenges mounted.

The Kendal Common was another 1950s modern neighborhood in Weston and is highly significant due to its homes designed by Koch, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), Hugh Stubbins, and other modernist pioneers. As with Lexington’s Six Moon Hill and Five Fields neighborhoods, it is an area with purposefully consistent modern architectural design, which was overseen by a board of directors.

These neighborhoods were apparently met with a fair amount of hostility in conservative Weston, which had largely been a farming town that in the ’50s saw a sharp uptick in development. Its location at the nexus of two new highways,128 and the Mass Pike, coupled with its picture-postcard New Englandness, was and remains highly desirable. Indeed, it is known for having the highest real estate values in the state. The modernist spirit actually had shown up in Weston in the 1930s, with two International Style homes designed by Bauhaus-influenced Ned Goodell, and continued through the decades with custom-built architecturally progressive homes.

Read more and see photos at the Weston Historical Commission page. It is encouraging to see towns taking stock and valuing mid-century modern homes.

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