Steel House

Connecticut College, New London, CT



Connecticut College’s Steel House is a survivor of the Modern “kit” architecture movement. Designed in 1933 by architect Howard T. Fisher, the one-story house with attached garage was furnished by General Houses, Inc., a pioneer of modern prefabricated housing. The structure is a two-bedroom, one bath starter home, made of 14-gauge painted steel exterior wall panels connected through flanges with simple bolt connections. Its innovative design featured the ability to take apart and relocate the entire house.


Materials Conservation first assessed each major building component, and developed proper preservation treatments and methods of repair (in conjunction with Connecticut College’s project architect and engineers). Next, we dismantled the house and decamped to our Philadelphia studios where we restored and refinished all exterior and interior steel panels, making replacements only where necessary. Back on site, we restored all exterior wood doors and windows, fabricated a new overhead garage door to match the original, restored all interior cabinetry and millwork, and - finally! - conserved various fixtures and other finishes.

Materials Conservation’s Steel House rehab is the winner of the 2014 Connecticut Preservation Award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

Sukari Keetin