Welcome to The Mirror House @New Canaan Library

August 10, 2020
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New Canaan Library is pleased to invite the community to experience firsthand the plans for the New Library inside one of Europe’s most inventive modern architectural designs. The “Mirror House,” as it will be known, is to be prominently sited on the Library’s lawn known as Christine’s Garden, at the intersection of Maple Street and South Avenue. This modern, prefabricated structure designed by the innovative Estonian company, ÖÖD House, offers an elegant example of the tiny house movement that has taken the design world by storm.

“The Mirror House traveled across the ocean to us in pieces on a container ship from the Baltics. From the start, we knew this intimate, yet striking, space would offer us a unique way to introduce the wider public to the Library project in a way that did not disrupt library service. Little did we know how important its functionality would become in the age of Covid,” noted Ellen Sullivan Crovatto, Director of Development and CEO of the Campaign for the New New Canaan Library.

The Mirror House is the first of its kind in the US. ÖÖD houses have been installed throughout Europe and are designed with many uses in mind, including home offices and writer’s/artist’s workspaces. Here, it will be used by the Library for several months to invite public viewing of the Library’s building plans and as an outdoor community space with exciting events planned throughout its nine-month tenure. Starting in September, the community will be welcomed inside to experience individual, self guided tours of the new Library, featuring augmented reality technology that allows the viewer to use their smart phones or tablets to hear directly from the architects and landscape designers planning the Library’s new home, as well as from staff members whose service to the community will be transformed by the new building.

“For me, the Mirror House is special because it enables us to provide public access to our plans while also serving as an apt visual metaphor,” says Crovatto. “Transparent from the inside, the Mirror House symbolizes the spirit of open access to knowledge that makes a library such a vital part of community life. Its sleek mirrored surface also embodies the central idea that the best libraries are reflections of their communities. We look forward to creating playful ways for the community to engage with us and the Mirror House and share with us what a great Library means to them.”

The austere beauty of the 220 square foot building derives its inspiration from New Canaan’s history of mid-century modern architecture. The Mirror House was designed by an Estonian design team strongly influenced by Philip Johnson’s Glass House and the mid-century modern architects, including the Harvard Five, whose work is also echoed in the new Library design.

“It’s incredible to think of the global influence New Canaan’s architects continue to have and our discovery of such an innovative group to work with on this project,” added Lisa Oldham, Executive Director. “We invite the community to join us as we reflect on our mission to be the center for lifelong learning and culture for our town.”

“We are fortunate to have envisioned a plan last year that has the potential to work well in this challenging time of Covid,” said Crovatto. “We will follow state guidelines and only allow individuals and family groups to tour the building at one time; guests will be permitted entry by appointment.”

The Mirror House will be available for timed visits after Labor Day weekend. For appointments and information about requirements for a visit, please visit the Library’s main website or its Capital Campaign website starting in September at www.newcanaannewlibrary.org.

Designed to be easily moved, the Library will sell or auction the Mirror House next year. For all inquiries, please contact Ellen Sullivan Crovatto, ecrovatto@newcanaanlibrary.org. For more information about the designers of the Mirror House, please visit oodhouse.com.

New Canaan Library has been the community's intellectual and cultural center for more than a century. Today, the Library continues as a vibrant community resource for learning and innovation, offering an extraordinary print and electronic collection, dynamic programming, and up to the minute technology and maker spaces. Each day, up to 1000 people come through the doors, and thousands of visits are made to the website in search of information, culture and entertainment. New Canaan Library looks confidently towards the future, embracing its vision of being the community's source for innovation and discovery.