FUN ADDITIONAL VINTAGE PHOTO AT BOTTOM. DON’T MISS!!!!
On the first tour of the morning, Catherine along to keep me company (she adds, to get away from the children with whom she’s spent every day this summer!), we had a fabulous tour of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan. What a difference a day makes.
There were only four of us in the group – a mother-daughter team from the city, Catherine, and little old moi. Because we were such a small group, we got to see the inside of the studio and the underground art bunker. Our guide said larger groups do not get this perk.
The brick guest house is under renovation because of water damage after a flood. And the Sculpture Gallery is under restoration too. Otherwise, we felt the place was ours. Our guide was marvelous, so knowledgeable, even though she admitted that she lives in Greenwich. 🙂
Lots of photos and I’ve tried to divide them into groups that make some sense.
The Studio getaway – a small space but tons of natural light with a huge ocular over the table and plenty of skylights. The one window overlooks the back yard with a fireplace in the fashion of a Frank Lloyd Wright design. It was where Johnson came to work.
Copy from the Glass House website:
The Studio, a one-room workspace and library, was referred to by Johnson as an “event” on the landscape. From the Glass House, it is approached through a field of tall grass and wetlands. When first completed, the Studio’s stucco exterior was bright white, but later Johnson painted it a soft brown color, described by colorist Donald Kaufman as “stone greige.”
The interior walls are lined with bookcases filled with 1,400 volumes on architecture, from nineteenth century tomes on German architecture to more recent publications on the work of Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and J.J.P. Oud. The selection of books demonstrates the scope of Johnson’s architectural interests, from broad surveys of European, Japanese, Islamic, American, and ancient architecture to monographs on contemporary architects.
The interior niche faces a small window that looks out at the nearby Ghost House. While the space has a fireplace, it has no bathroom. Primary lighting comes from a skylight located in the conical dome.
Da Monsta, 1995
Copy from the Glass House website.
Philip Johnson was a friend and supporter of both Frank Gehry and Peter Eisenman – the influence of both seems evident in the non-Euclidean form of Da Monsta. However, Johnson claimed that his original inspiration for Da Monsta came from the design for a museum in Dresden by artist and friend Frank Stella. In fact, when Johnson first madea model of this structure, he named it “Dresden Zwei,” or “Dresden Two,” and presented it to Stella.
This building, constructed of modified gunnite, is the closest to Johnson’s thinking about sculpture and form at the end of his life – what he called the “structured warp.” This architectural direction using warped, torqued forms is far from the rectilinear shapes of the International Style.
The name of the building is an adaptation of the “monster,” a phrase for the building that resulted from a conversation with architecture critic Herbert Muschamp. Johnson felt the building had the quality of a living thing.
The view from the Glass House down to the Pavilion in the Pond and the Climbing Sculpture. We did not go down there, just a view from above.
I took 150 photos in all but this is more than enough to entice you to come up or over to New Canaan and take your own tour.
Our own CosHarbour, looking studly in his bell bottoms 1973.
Back in the day. Was working and living one summer across the road from the PH Compound adjacent to Ponus Ridge. So we used to do private tours by ourselves.