Located in Irwin Park on Weed Street, Landis Gores designed the Pavilion as a pool house for John Irwin and Jane Watson, the daughter of IBM’s founder. It was dedicated in 1960 at a grand surprise party arranged by Philip Johnson in honor of Gores, his friend and former associate on The Glass House. Special features of this impeccably constructed glass and redwood structure include façade columns inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion and a massive Prairie-style fireplace that runs floor to ceiling.
In 2005, the Irwin heirs sold the estate to the Town of New Canaan. The pool was filled in and the Town planned to demolish the structure. A small group of New Canaan residents formed the Friends of the Gores Pavilion and saved the building. It was listed on the CT Register of Historic Places in 2006.
The Historical Society entered into an agreement with the Town of New Canaan to restore and maintain it. It raised funds that were matched by the CT Department of Culture & Tourism. Architect William Earls, working with the Historical Society, spent two years on the restoration work. Much of the fundraising was done in honor of New Canaan resident and design legend Jens Risom, and the main entertaining space is now called “The Jens Risom Room.”
The Gores Pavilion is open to the public from May through October on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11-3 or by appointment.