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Movie Time ~ Glass House Design

By Simone Design Blog @HomeSpire

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and that you had a wonderful week.  It was pretty cool here weather wise, with no particular heat and humidity to speak of.  I’m sure you heard that we had the hottest summer on record!

A few weeks ago, I showed you two videos of FallingWater, a home that was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright.  For today’s movie, I’m doing part 2 of the series on American architects and their legacies in design.

Today, is a property that was completed in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut. The National Trust of Historic Preservation received the house as a donation in 1986 and opened it to the public in 2007. It is built on a 47 acre property at the edge of a crest overlooking a pond. The house I’m talking about is the “Glass House.”  The house is an architectural wonder,  it’s considered a study of minimal structure, geometry, proportion, and the effects of transparency and reflection.

This beautifully constructed literal Glass House was built by Philip Johnson.  He lived there with his partner, David Whitney, until his death on January 25, 2005 at the age 98.  David who was an accomplished curator and editor, an avid art collector and gardener, died on June 12, 2005 at age 66.

As directed in his will, his New York and Connecticut estates were entrusted to National Trust for Historic Preservation and programming of the Philip Johnson Glass House.

Johnson had an influence on architecture, art, and design during the second-half of the twentieth century. He referred to the Glass House site as his “fifty-year diary.”

A brief background on the house design:

Philip Johnson’s inspiration for the Glass House design was fellow architect, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois.  Its’ exterior walls are made of glass with no interior walls, a radical departure from houses of the time. The Glass House began a fifty-year odyssey of architectural experimentation in forms, materials, and ideas through the addition of many “pavilions”—the Brick House/Guest House, Pond Pavilion, Painting Gallery, Sculpture Gallery, Ghost House, Library/Study, and DaMonsta—and the methodical sculpting of the surrounding forty-acre landscape.

Johnson continued to build structures on his estate as architectural essays. Built fifty feet from the Glass House is a guest house, echoing the proportions of the Glass House and completely enclosed in brick (except for three large circular windows at the rear, set in wooden frames, 5 feet in diameter, which reveal the interior of the building that was originally designed with a window in each of three rooms, two guest bedrooms at each end and a study in the middle). It now contains a bathroom, library, and single bedroom with a vaulted ceiling and shag carpet. It was built at the same time as the Glass House and can be seen as its formal counterpart. Johnson stated that he deliberately designed it to be less than perfectly comfortable, as “guests are like fish, they should only last three days at most”.

Later, Johnson added a painting gallery with an innovative viewing mechanism of rotating walls to hold paintings (influenced by the Hogarth displays at Sir John Soane’s house), followed by a sky-lit sculpture gallery. The last structures Johnson built on the estate was a library and a reception building, the latter, red and black in color and contains curving walls. Johnson viewed the ensemble of one-room buildings as a total work of art, claiming that it was his best and only “landscape project.”

Without further ado, here are two videos highlighting the house.

This  first video, narrated in part by Philip Johnson himself, describes the vision of the Glass House design.


This video gives you a musical tour of the home and it’s surroundings.


It’s just a beautiful interior and exterior designed home and a true Architectural Wonder!

Thank you all for voting on the dog house designs. Thank you also to ArchitectLinked for sharing it, it was such a huge success. I look forward to announcing the winner on Monday. This week has been such an awesome week for me as a blogger. It’s always a compliment to having your work recognized.  Thank you everyone for participating.

Enjoy your weekend.




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