Architecture: Visit to The Philip Johnson Glass House, New Canaan


I’ve often said that if I could do my life over, I’d be an architect. There was also a time I thought of becoming a chef. However, I decided that I’d be a terrible chef. I would never have tolerated a person sending back a perfectly cooked protein because they prefer a charcoal briquette, or worse, vegetarians. That said, I suppose architects have a difficult time ensuring clients are happy. As Philip Johnson said,

The care and feeding of clients is really one of the main obstacles, because you always have a client with some preconceived idea of what a house looks like, and all you want him to do is leave a check and go to Europe for a couple of years. Or leave two checks. But alas, life isn’t simple. If it were, more people would be better architects.

No other art form moves me emotionally like architecture does. I’ve searched deep in my soul for the reason why. Perhaps it’s the permanence, or the monumentality of great construction. Perhaps it’s because it’s the one art that people interact with daily, living and working within. But, one shouldn’t fight feelings and intuition. When viewing amazing architecture, all the hair on my body stands on end and I feel waves of emotion course through my veins. It must be important.

I was extremely fortunate to have made the pilgrimage to The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan in November on the last day of the 2009 season. I was inspired and in awe during my 90 minute visit. Two months later, I still think of the designs and continue to question how I live. People far more knowledgeable than I have written enough about the compound, so I’ll just share some images of details that struck me.

Da Monsta: The way the rain made the building’s skin seem alive:

Da Monsta: Only one focal point.

Glass House: The way the mirror in the bathroom frames the view outside:

Glass House: Almost every light inside the house fired up:


Glass House: The building was constructed with the windows protruding from the steel frame, far more difficult than if they were recessed. Was this the view he wanted on the rainy days?

Glass House: Mies van der Rohe wouldn’t approve 🙂

Glass House: I learned that the painting blew over often when the doors were open during his life, yet there are no fasteners to the ground. Not an oversight, seems quite deliberate.

Gallery: Check out the details near the tracks.

Sculpture Gallery: Just think of how the lighting changes the sculpture throughout the day.

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