Details

Keywords Change this

Glass, House Of The Architect

Project timeline

1949 – 1949

Type

Private House

Location Change this

798-856, Ponus Ridge Road
New Canaan

Current state

Original

Architect Change this

Team

Philip Johnson, Richard T. Foster

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Article last edited by archibald on
February 18th, 2015

The Glass House Change this

Andy Warhol in front of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

1 of 30

Description Change this

“The only house in the world where you can watch the sun set and the moon rise at the same time. And the snow. It’s amazing when you’re surrounded at night with the falling snow. It’s lighted, which makes it look as though you’re rising on a celestial elevator.” - Alice Rawsthorne, the International Herald Tribune

The Glass House or Johnson house, built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut built atop a dramatic hill on a rolling 47-acre estate was designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence and is considered a masterpiece in the use of glass. It is now operated as a historic house museum by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Architecture

It was an important and influential project for Johnson and his associate Richard Foster. The building is an essay in minimal structure, geometry, proportion, and the effects of transparency and reflection. The minimal domicile is equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and space for dining and entertaining all arranged inside a simple rectangle measuring 32 by 56 feet (approx. 9 x 17m).

Similarity to Farnsworth House

The basic concept for Johnson's glass house was borrowed from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was designing the glass-and-steel Farnsworth House during the same period. Unlike the Farnsworth House, however, Philip Johnson's home is symmetrical and sits solidly on the ground. The quarter-inch thick glass walls are supported by black steel pillars. The interior space is divided by low walnut cabinets and a brick cylinder that contains the bathroom. The cylinder and the brick floors are a polished purple hue.

The Brick House

The guesthouse sits as a smaller counterpoint to the main glasshouse and is constructed from red bricks. The Guest House (Brick House) was remodelled in 1953, but contains a bedroom, reading room and bathroom connected by a narrow corridor.

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