Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post:


Your first thought on approaching Philip Johnson‘s 1949 Glass House is that it has the same problems as a very small bikini. Would my life look good in this? Could it stand the exposure? And what kind of major reformation to my habits and vices would it take to fit into this thing?

Fortunately, it had some storage.

The house, which opens to the public Saturday as a National Trust for Historic Preservation site, is austere, but not threatening. It is one of the great monuments of modernism in America, by one of this country’s longest-lived and most influential architects. Johnson, who built some of the slickest skyscrapers to grace the New York skyline (his curvaceous “lipstick” building on 53rd Street is still dangerously pretty), also helped define the cleanest lines of the International Style. The Glass House, a picture of which graces almost every book on 20th-century American architecture, was just that: a rectangular pavilion of steel supports and glass walls, with a brick “core” that contains a small bathroom and a fireplace.

More here.