In Glass Houses…

Posted by on Jul 7, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Recently my daughter and I went to Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT. I had been lax about going because the house is so ubiquitous in photos, I felt like I’d already been there. What I found when we rolled into this 47-acre estate was that there was so much more to see and experience. Not only are there many more buildings than The Glass House (each unique and amazing in their own right), but the landscaping is ingenious.

I knew so little about Philip Johnson (did know that I loved his glasses). I learned that The Glass House, which was his personal home, was his first and most well-known work which he started in 1945. The rest of the buildings were added right up through the 1990’s which is why Johnson called this estate his fifty-year diary.


The metal bar slides up and down acting as a gate between two stone structures that have a tombstone feel


This is a sort of gatehouse building…just loved the fact that he used such bold colors in concrete.


The Glass House with a piece of blue repair tape on one of the panes of glass — could someone have been throwing stones?


A view of the glass and brick contrast with the pool in the foreground… The brick house (guest house) stands facing The Glass House and only has three porthole windows at the back of the structure — apparently guests didn’t want to see Johnson naked.


Monastically modern sleeping setup…even the bedside table is reflective.


A view through and around the house. In the distance is Johnson’s studio. Another building that stands in contrast to The Glass House… and closed to the public…disappointing.


This tunnel is actually the entrance into the art gallery.

This is the sculpture gallery. As you approach this building it looks like a New England whitewashed brick building, but as you get closer you see this amazing interior created by light through the paneled glass roof. The bronze log sculpture in the foreground is a Schnabel — I only remember his name because I know he surfs in Mexico.


This is the effect of the glass roof on the walls of the gallery — Mondrianesque wouldn’t you say?


These patterns of light create such an interesting environment for the sculpture.


This is the view from the back of the Glass House looking down on the pond. The pavilions look grand but you can tell they are scaled in miniature. Apparently he had elaborate picnics in these structures… I just remember the guide saying something about bright colored rugs.


This is called the Ghost House because it seems to be barely there. Made of chain link and steel, it sits on the stone foundation of a 19th century barn eerily at the edge of the clearing.


This little “hole in the wall” Johnson called the osuary. He kept dog bones in it. I assumed the tour guide meant dog treats, but she probably didn’t.

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