This old house, especially if it’s of a Modernist design, can become new again — in style, if not in brick and mortar. Or in this case, glass and steel, wood and fieldstone, or even aluminum.

“Arcadia/Suburbia: Architecture on Long Island, 1930-2010,” opening Saturday at Huntington’s Heckscher Museum of Art, traces the advent and advance of Modernism in residential architecture on the Island over the last 80 years.

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At first, architects envisioned only weekend or vacation homes for the Island. The three-story, cubic Aluminaire House, designed in 1931 by A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey, deployed “modern” industrial materials — steel, plate glass and aluminum. It was considered such an eye-opener that it was presented at the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture. Among the eyes it opened were those of architect Wallace Harrison, who moved the house to Huntington.

In the post-World War II years, as Levittown and other developments changed the residential landscape, year-round family homes drew increasing interest of leading architects who catered to wealthy city dwellers longing for more space. Ranch-style houses became ubiquitous across the country. But few were as radical in design as the Hanson House, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1955. His clients were John and Bea Hanson, a young New York City couple who wanted to move “out into the country” to start a family. Breuer designed the Lloyd Harbor home in a one-story sprawl, incorporating glass, wood and fieldstone that seemed to draw the wooded, four-acre exterior in. An inward-slanting “Butterfly” roof gives the home its distinctive shape. It remains in the Hanson family, which recently restored the house with the help of architect Eduardo Lacroze.

The Modernist aesthetic, as expressed on Long Island, sought a balance between nature and human intervention. Today’s green movement is bringing that aesthetic back in vogue. The most recent example, from this new year and shown here, is Resolution: 4 Architecture’s design for a Long Beach cottage, with its minimal footprint offering maximum ocean view.

“Arcadia/Suburbia: The Architecture of Long Island, 1930-2010” runs through April 11 at the Heckscher, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington;, 631-351-3250.


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Permission Heckscher Museum of Art