Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

Thursday, June 2, 2011

travel thursday — philip johnson's glass house — part 2

While the main attrac­tion at Philip Johnson's New Canaan CT prop­erty is the Glass House itself, there are sev­eral ancil­lary struc­tures on the estate that he and his part­ner David Whit­ney used to enter­tain and house some of their art collection.

philip johnson's glass house

philip johnson's glass house

From above the main house, you can see in this pic­ture a por­tion of the Brick House, designed for guests. In oppo­si­tion to the trans­parency of the glass house, the brick house has only three round win­dows on its rear façade. Accord­ing to our guide, the Brick House was inun­dated by water shortly after the the prop­erty opened to the pub­lic, result­ing in exten­sive dam­age to the inte­rior and its fur­nish­ings. The restora­tion project has been under­way since 2008.

the brick house for guests on the glass house property

the brick house for guests on the glass house property

To the right, out of frame in the pic­ture above, is the swim­ming pool, seen below.

the glass house swimming pool

the glass house swim­ming pool

As we con­tinue across the upper path, we arrive at what appears to be an under­ground bunker, but is in fact the Paint­ing Gallery. John­son and Whit­ney were avid sup­port­ers of con­tem­po­rary artists and col­lected a vari­ety of works. Many of their larger pieces are housed in this masonry and earth berm facil­ity built in 1965. Within the three cir­cu­lar pods, cen­ter spin­dles allow for stor­age of 42 works, although only a few are viewed at one time.

entrance to the painting gallery at the glass house

entrance to the paint­ing gallery at the glass house

Within the entry of the Paint­ing Gallery, on the left is this Michael Heizer paint­ing of a sculp­ture to be made and  on the right, three pho­tographs by Lynn Davis.

michael heizer painting in the glass house painting gallery new canaan ct

michael heizer paint­ing in the glass house paint­ing gallery

Step­ping fur­ther into the three cir­cles, a few of the pieces on dis­play, the first two by Frank Stella:

frank stella multi-media work at glass house new canaan ct

frank stella multi-media work at glass house paint­ing gallery

frank stella multi-media work at glass house new canaan ct

frank stella multi-media work at glass house paint­ing gallery

Two more pieces, sorry I didn't catch the artist's name on these…

 

two large scale paintings at the glass house painting gallery new canaan ct

two large scale paint­ings at the glass house paint­ing gallery

From the paint­ing gallery, we next visit the Sculp­ture Gallery. The gallery fea­tures five lev­els and was designed to feel like a Greek vil­lage on the side of a vol­cano, where streets are stair­cases. The inte­rior play of light in this build­ing is stun­ning. Some of the most appeal­ing pieces (to me, anyway):

"Raft of the Medusa" by frank stella, aluminum

"Raft of the Medusa" by frank stella, aluminum

"two lovers on a bed" by george segal (right) and "the archbishop, the golfer and ralph" by john chamberlain (left)

"two lovers on a bed" by george segal (right) and "the arch­bishop, the golfer and ralph" by john cham­ber­lain (left)

a portion of andrew lord's "large vessels", bismuth clay and gold

a por­tion of andrew lord's "large ves­sels", bis­muth clay and gold

tubular steel rafters form the ceiling in the sculpture gallery

tubu­lar steel rafters form the ceil­ing in the sculp­ture gallery

The tour ends with a walk to the top of the dri­ve­way and a brief look at Da Mon­sta, which John­son con­ceived as a future vis­i­tor cen­ter after his death. Sadly it proved to be too small for that task.

da monsta at glass house - this image via philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

da mon­sta at glass house — this image via philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

Part of the joy of explor­ing this won­der­ful National Trust site on a beau­ti­ful day was spend­ing it with dear friends. Here we are hav­ing a well deserved rest in charm­ing New Canaan CT.

girls' day out was a blast!

girls' day out was a blast!

Be sure to book a tour of Philip Johnson's Glass House on your next visit to Con­necti­cut. You are sure to enjoy this mod­ernist archi­tec­tural gem in its pris­tine setting.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

travel tuesday — philip johnson's glass house — part 1

One of the archi­tec­tural gems of Con­necti­cut is Philip Johnson's Glass House. Opened to the pub­lic in 2007, the 47 acre prop­erty in New Canaan is sim­ply spec­tac­u­lar. When you con­sider John­son started with 5.5 acres and built the glass house in 1949, you under­stand his descrip­tion of the prop­erty as his "50 year diary". The guided tour starts at the top of the site near the road — all the land slopes down­ward and away from the street, pro­tect­ing all the views from and of the house.

As vis­i­tors walk down the dri­ve­way, on the left is the Library/Study. Built in 1980 and used by John­son as his study, the cone at top fea­tures a sky­light. There are no win­dows on the dri­ve­way fac­ing façade, but a small win­dow oppo­site the cone pro­vides a view of the Ghost House. The Ghost House is a folly built in 1984 and ded­i­cated to Frank Gehry. It is not a func­tional struc­ture, com­posed of chain link within a steel framework.

Library/study and Ghost House from the driveway

Library/study and Ghost House from the driveway

Con­tin­u­ing down the dri­ve­way, vis­i­tors pass a 1971 Don­ald Judd con­crete sculp­ture and an impres­sively sized stone wall. The wall was built atop the orig­i­nal farm wall to block Johnson's view of his vis­i­tors' parked cars.

donald judd sculpture with stone wall and glass house beyond

don­ald judd sculp­ture with stone wall and glass house beyond

philip johnson's glass house

philip johnson's glass house

Tra­vers­ing walk­ways through the clipped grass "car­pet", enter the glass house directly into the liv­ing area, with seat­ing ahead, kitchen to left and bed­room to the right. The cab­i­netry seen behind the paint­ing forms the back­drop to the sleep­ing area and pro­vides storage.

glass house seating area features a 1649 Nicolas Poussin painting

glass house seat­ing area fea­tures a 1649 Nico­las Poussin painting

glass house dining area located to the left of the living room area

glass house din­ing area located to the left of the liv­ing room area

Between the din­ing area and the kitchen is this 1930 Elie Nadel­man sculp­ture "Two Cir­cus Women".

elie nadelman sculpture in the glass house

elie nadel­man sculp­ture in the glass house

a corner of the glass house kitchen and view toward driveway

a cor­ner of the glass house kitchen and view toward driveway

the glass house fireplace

the glass house fireplace

the shower room is located on the reverse of the fireplace column

the shower room is located on the reverse of the fire­place column

the bedroom, anchored by cabinetry, is open on all sides

the bed­room, anchored by cab­i­netry, is open on all sides

Step­ping out the back of the house, the views are magnificent.

the view from the glass house bedroom

the view from the glass house bedroom

In the fore­ground is the pond with its 1962 Lake Pavil­ion. The folly ceil­ing height is only 63 inches. Behind and to the left is the Lin­coln Kirstein Tower, a 30 foot tall scal­able sculp­ture com­pleted in 1985. Vis­i­tors are not allowed to climb, but we were told there is a secret inscrip­tion at the top which can­not be revealed to non-climbers!

view from the back of the glass house

view from the back of the glass house

Could you live in a glass house? I def­i­nitely could, and Peep­ing Toms be damned! No clut­ter and no place for clut­ter — none of the debris of daily liv­ing — for me, the pres­sure to put every­thing away would be too much! Of course, I don't know if John­son actu­ally lived this sparsely, but if he did, I salute him!

There are sev­eral more build­ings to explore on the grounds, which I will share in my next post.

 

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

something lovely…from architectural watercolors

I spot­ted these alpha­bet note­cards from Archi­tec­tural Water­col­ors artists Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams in the cur­rent issue of Archi­tec­tural Digest magazine:

architectural watercolors letter C

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors let­ter C for Chinoiserie

architectural watercolors letter M

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors let­ter M for Menagerie

The clas­si­cal illus­tra­tions led me to their web­site, where to my delight I found many more cards. Lit­tle known fact, I adore chi­nois­erie (I've never met a pagoda I didn't like)! Feast your eyes on these gor­geous images:

architectural watercolors shell pagoda

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors shell pagoda

architectural watercolors MA tent

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors Marie Antoinette tent

architectural watercolors porcelain pagoda

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors porce­lain pagoda

architectural watercolors philosophers bridge

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors philoso­phers bridge

architectural watercolors chinese belvedere

archi­tec­tural water­col­ors chi­nese belvedere

Be sure to visit their web­site to view and pur­chase these lovelies. At $3.20 per card, you could put together a per­son­al­ized set of indi­vid­ual cards to gift, or keep for yourself!

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