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Philip Johnson’s Gorgeous Glass House

Not in New York- but Connecticut is not that far! 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.

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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 now 49 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- which was used specifically for picnicking beneath its gilded ceiling. A visit to the Glass House is incredible- tour groups are extremely small, giving visitors a sense of what it would have been like to really stay there, encased in glass, relying on the beauty of nature to provide privacy. Walking through the grounds, you feel Johnson’s understanding of geometry fused into the natural world, with his structures reduced to shapes from various vantage points.

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Donald Judd

Donald Judd

It truly is an architectural gem, but since Johnson’s death, it has become an incredible place to experience contemporary art in a surreal setting. Not to mention the couple’s existing art collection, which includes Stella, Warhol, Segal, Chamberlain, Judd and more. Each year, the foundation also commissions a contemporary artist to create a work for Glass House (this year, Fujik’s Nakaya’s Veil was beyond amazing- timed mist that enveloped the home, the grounds- and its visitors).

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The Philip Johnson Glass House is one of those places where someone like me- so into art and design- feels a magic that gives me chills just by being there.

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Who: Philip Johnson

What: Glass House

Where: 199 Elm St, New Canaan, CT 06840

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