Legendary architect Philip Johnson was responsible for many iconic structures, but few have the ability to move people as much as his famous Glass House. Johnson both designed and lived in the architectural gem located in New Canaan, Connecticut, where it still stands today. Built in 1949, the beautiful private residence is a mid-century modern marvel lined with glass walls that seem to blur the lines between nature and the indoors. The innovative home, which is now open for tours, was an early example of sustainable design with features such as daylighting and radiant flooring.
Philip Johnson designed the Glass House as a weekend retreat for himself and his partner, art critic David Whitney. Set on a sprawling plot that was originally 47 acres and lined with forest, the Glass House was accompanied by a Brick House for guests, a pool, a submerged painting gallery, a sculpture gallery, a gate house, a study and a pond-side pavilion, all built between 1949 and 1995.
From the street, the house is largely unseen, allowing its residents a sense of privacy that might seem impossible in a home made of glass. The rectilinear structure is divided into living sections with minimal furniture, including a kitchen, a dining area, a living room, a small sleeping area and a cylindrical brick bathroom that is entirely enclosed for privacy. Brick flooring runs throughout, and doubles as a radiant heat source.
Inside the home, nature takes over with sunlight and views pouring in all day long. As the seasons change, so does the atmosphere in the home, making it a different experience with each visit.
After Johnson’s death in 2005, the architect left the Glass House as a museum for the public to enjoy. Since 2007, visitors have been welcomed to the property for a variety of tours of the home and the couple’s art collection. More recently, the Glass House has begun a contemporary art program, commissioning artists to create site-specific works inspired by the home.
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