Philip Johnson: The Glass House

The girl surprised me last weekend with a trip up to Connecticut.  When she told me about it 6 months ago, I was convinced it was a trip to vist Daryl Hall because, why else would you go to Connecticut?  It turned out to be something equally as awesome, a visit to Philip Johnson’s Glass House.

I highly recommend making the opportunity to go up there and visiting the property.  Like pretty much everyone, I was familiar with the iconic house but turns out to be a minor portion of the overall property and story.  First and foremost, Johnson was a landscape architect and the structures are placed and scaled as objects within picture that is he is framing with the landscape.  Scale is a word used a lot when discussing this property because it is manipulated in ways that I’ve rarely seen at this scale.

This picture is taken from next to the glass house.  The white structure in the background was built when Johnson was 80 (he lived until he was 99) and is a climbing tower made up cinder blocks stacked double high for steps.  It about 30 feet tall.  The pavilion on the water obviously invokes Renaissance  Baroque architecture though it is made of a modular steel that snaps together.  It does have a gold leaf ceiling that you can’t see here but you can see how it tints the reflections in the water.  The pavilion is only about 6.5 feet tall (5’3″ interior).

I won’t spend any more time here trying to give justice to the property or relaying tidbits of Johnson’s life since experiencing first hand is so much better.  The tickets tend to sellout far in advance but it is very much worth planning a trip up.  At only 90 minutes out side of NYC, it makes a great day trip on a visit to the city.

Here is a small photo set my wife took of the visit:

Learn more about The Glass House here:


6 thoughts on “Philip Johnson: The Glass House”

  1. My girlfriend and I went a couple of years ago, in October too. It was an amazing tour! The property alone was really peaceful, and the way to the house was designed is great. I highly recommend the longest tour you can get tickets for.

  2. Wow, what a wonderful sweetie you have, Ben! And it looks like you had great weather, too. I am very envious. :-)

    Was the guest house still under repair? I’ve seen some pics in Dwell regarding the restoration. I think DWR is somehow involved as a sponsor.

    1. The brick house will be under repair for a few more years. Apparently a very serious mold issue. Not sure about Dwell’s involvement. It wasn’t mentioned there and I don’t see it on the website as part of the participating groups but that may not mean anything one way or another.

      The other item that is under going restoration is the Donald Judd concrete sculpture. It has recent been clean and now they are looking at what to do about the structural issues.

  3. umm… hate to nitpick but Daryl Hall’s lovely cobbled-together Colonial estate is in Dutchess Co., NY, near Millbrook, New York. Definitely not Connecticutt.

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