Posts tagged with "The Glass House":

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A modernist paperweight pays tribute to Philip Johnson

 

The Modernist Paperweight is designed by Werkstätte Carl Auböck Vienna exclusively for the Glass House Design Store. These extraordinary life-sized Philip Johnson spectacles were lovingly created for us by Carl Auböck IV. Each piece bears the official Auböck stamp and comes with exclusive certification. The paperweight comes in patina or polished solid brass options. All purchases help support preservation at the Glass House.

The Glass House Design Store offers an edited selection of gifts and limited editions that represent the sensibility and ideas that inform the Glass House, both the iconic 1949 structure and the unique synthesis of art, architecture, and landscape that developed over half a century. Inspired by “Machine Art,” a legendary exhibition organized by Philip Johnson for the Museum of Modern Art in 1934, the Glass House Design Store celebrates Johnson’s curatorial vision through its rigorous offering.  

The store is located at the Glass House Visitor Center in New Canaan, Connecticut. The Glass House, built between 1949 and 1995 by architect Philip Johnson, is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, CT. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the Glass House (1949), and features a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions. The tour season runs from May to November and advance reservations are required. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.philipjohnsonglasshouse.org
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Robert A.M. Stern and Norman Foster talk Yale and martinis at the Glass House

"The Brits thought we Americans didn’t know about culture and we thought the Brits didn’t know how to draw," is how Robert A.M. Stern describes his impression of the first (pre-Beatles) British invasion. In 1962, Norman Foster, along with Richard Rogers and their respective partners, moved to New Haven for a year to study at Yale. Stern spoke about these years last week at a dinner with Foster on the luxurious grounds of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. The event allowed attendees to walk around the grounds of the estate in all of its fall beauty before the dinner talk. Foster took advantage of this by sprinting with his family through several of the Johnson pavilions. Stern, with his foot in a brace, preferred to lounge in the house with a martini and talk to Peter Eisenman. The conversation, moderated by Johnson scholar and Glass House Chief Curator Hilary Lewis, also covered the two architects' relationship with Philip and his "startling" Glass House, as well as Paul Rudolph and the Yale faculty. They both remembered Rudolph’s demanding studios, particularly his juries that might include the likes of Serge Chermayeff and Vincent Scully who all had a "powerful presence on the campus." Stern described a studio design by Foster and Rogers that apparently did not impress the jury. The scheme was for a science center, on the edge of New Haven that featured a central pedestrian spine with "ziggurat-like "laboratory clusters spilling down hillside." Rudolph, Stern said, “did not like the project, and Johnson snapped off one of the towers and said, 'these will have to go.'" Stern was at his quotable best all evening and claimed that Foster "has not gotten better, because he was perfect as a student." Foster was particularly impressed with Scully who, he said, "brought history alive for me for the first time." Today's visit to the Glass House, he concluded, made him realize that the New Canaan residence owed its siting to Wright who, Scully claimed, wanted houses "to disappear into the landscape." (Stern claimed that Wright once asked Johnson, derisively, if he was "still building little boxes on the landscape," but Wright nevertheless came to the Glass House to drink martinis.) Foster realized that in fact the Glass House was "not a little house on and above the land, but in fact disappears into the landscape," an observation made clear by the tranquil twilight talk. Stern and Foster agreed that today, it’s hard to describe how shockingly new the Glass House was to their generation. "I was one of the first students to visit the house," Stern said. "I did not know Philip Johnson, but I called him on the telephone, and he said, 'bring the boys down!' And I showed up with seven women..." The conversation ended on a more serious note as Foster promoted the goals of his private foundation in Madrid that address issues like climate change and the fact that a quarter of the world's population has no access to electricity, difficult topics he thinks the profession of architecture avoids. He finished by stating that, for most of the world's citizens, infrastructure is more important than architecture. Stern agreed with Foster’s assessment of the architecture profession and claimed that most of today's star architecture "is about individual ego and not context, [not] a continuation of the street or the history of the city." Stern sent the audience off to dinner with one of his quotable bon mots: "I like New Canaan but I wouldn’t want to live here." Stern and Foster were sent home with an official snow globes from the design store of the house to remember the evening.
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Philip Johnson’s Sculpture Gallery gets a renovation worthy of the original

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Philip Johnson’s property in New Canaan, Connecticut, is synonymous with his iconic Glass House, but the Sculpture Gallery of 1970 is worthy of pilgrimage itself. “This is still the single best room that I have ever designed,” Johnson said of the gallery in a 1991 interview for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • Facade Manufacturer PPG (glass); Oldcastle (skylight system); National Cathode (lighting)
  • Architects Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects
  • Facade Installer Nicholson & Galloway
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location New Canaan, CT
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System aluminum extrusion system and glass skylighting
  • Products Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® BMS-3000 skylight system
Incorporating the influence of Greek architecture, the Sculpture Gallery is an interplay of intersecting angles set within a sloped landscape, capped with a glass ceiling supported by tubular steel rafters that cast dramatic shadows on the work inside. As the years wore on, the original roof began to leak, damaging the lighting and heating systems and staining the building’s tubular steel skeleton. Restoration was needed, and as part of that effort, Ted Hathaway, a member of the Glass House Advisory Council and president of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope (the most significant benefactor of the Glass House site since its opening in 2007), donated a new aluminum extrusion system and glass skylighting. The restoration tackled numerous issues, like bringing the skylight up to contemporary standards while respecting Johnson’s original intent. “The Sculpture Gallery is renowned for the shadow pattern that is produced on the interior of the building on sunny days,” Glass House Director Gregory Sages said. “The glass needed to be upgraded to a laminated product that meets current building code. Maintaining the height and width of the extrusions was essential to replicating the shadow pattern Johnson created.” The factory that created the original glass is no longer in operation, so Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope utilized glass provided by PPG to develop a modern replacement, landing on a 9/16-inch laminated safety glass with quarter-inch Solarcool Gray #2 outboard lite, a clear polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayer, and quarter-inch clear inboard lite. “We were able to find an exact match that is reflective from the outside and transparent from the inside,” Sages said. Though the original aluminum could support the new glass, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope’s BMS-3000 skylight system with stepped-and-overlapped guttering was utilized to prevent further leakage. Matching the original lighting proved a challenge of its own. The team experimented with energy-efficient LED lighting, but was disappointed by the effects. They found the solution with the original supplier, National Cathode, which produced tubes matching the original output volume and color temperature—meaning the restored building will match the original whether the lights are on or off. The success of the project was underscored when original project architect Horst Hahn visited the site, giving it his stamp of approval. Now, just as Johnson put it in that 1991 interview, “the roof then becomes a substitute for the heavens.”
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Henry Urbach on curating architecture, The Glass House, and what’s next for him

The Architect’s Newspaper Editor-in-Chief William Menking sat down with Henry Urbach to discuss Urbach’s long and varied career as a dealer of architecture drawings, curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and director of the Philip Johnson Glass House.

The Architect’s Newspaper: You have had a varied career as a gallery owner, curator, writer, and museum director. How did you get started in these various activities?

Henry Urbach: It began while I was a graduate student at Princeton and I started to take note of experimental architecture as a form of cultural production that is compelling on its own terms. There were many interesting projects but few spaces dedicated to exhibiting them. That was the genesis of Henry Urbach Architecture, which opened to the public in 1997. I wanted to create a new platform for experimental architecture by making use of the gallery model. The gallery was a calling, and a bit of a stretch. I had no gallery experience and no money, but a lot of determination and, slowly but surely, people who got behind the idea, as artists and architects, as audience and patrons, and there was tremendous press support. I think I was very lucky.

You became a curator of architecture before it became a fashionable career. Why did it occur to you to become active in this field?

As the gallery’s profile grew I developed relationships with curators and institutions worldwide. SFMOMA approached me at the perfect moment, about ten years into the life of the gallery and at a time when real estate and other costs were skyrocketing in New York. The museum offered a wonderful platform to continue exhibiting work, developing new commissions, and, in general, exploring what it means to present architecture.

Curating has become professionalized in the past few years with university graduate programs devoted to it and many young people looking to it as a career. What do you think of these recent developments in the art and architecture world?

I think it’s wonderful that there’s this kind of interest, and now opportunities, for formal education. Curating in architecture used to be something of a gentleman’s sport or sideline; it deserves to be treated as a proper discipline with its own history, theory, and practices.

I remember the show of Lebbeus Woods and Kiki Smith. What other shows did you curate at the gallery that were memorable?

We did over 55 exhibitions, so it’s a hard question for me to answer! Some of the other memorable installations by architects include LOT-EK’s Mixer, Freecell Architecture’s MoistSCAPE, and R&Sie’s Mosquito Bottleneck.

Did you close the gallery when you moved to San Francisco? Why have architecture galleries devoted to drawings and professional work always had a hard time succeeding as businesses?

I closed the gallery shortly before moving to San Francisco. The market for architecture, especially more experimental and contemporary work, remains very limited.

How long were you in San Francisco, and what shows did you curate there that stand out?

My first exhibition was the global premiere of Olafur Eliasson’s BMW Art Car, made of steel and ice and exhibited in a walk-in freezer. We did Jürgen Mayer’s first museum exhibition, as well as Tobias Wong’s. The largest exhibition was a collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro called How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now.

There were also shows dealing with the permanent collection through thematic probes, such as an exhibition on the architectural section, one on the process of building a museum collection, and one on the body and architecture called Sensate that included new commissions by Andrew Kudless and Alex Schweder.

In 2012 you became director of The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. It seems like most of your shows there brought artists to create a conversation with the house and even Philip Johnson’s legacy. How would you describe your mandate for programming at The Glass House?

You’re absolutely right. The idea was to take the historic site and transform it into a new platform for contemporary work by artists and architects that could develop compelling dialogues with the house and its author. The most elaborate of these was Fujiko Nakaya’s Veil, which produced a billowing cloud of mist that allowed The Glass House to occasionally disappear.

What will you do for your next act?

Currently I’m on sabbatical in Tel Aviv, where I’ve been exploring the lively art and design scene while working on several writing projects. Starting in August, I’ll begin teaching a seminar and studio at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.

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Glass House taps Hilary Lewis as its new Chief Curator and Creative Director

Starting January 17, Hilary Lewis, a scholar of Philip Johnson in addition to her work as an author, journalist, and curator, will be the Glass House chief curator and creative director. In her work, she has focused specifically on Philip Johnson for over 20 years, collaborating with the architect in 1992 and then spending a decade co-authoring the book Philip Johnson: The Architect in His Own Words and The Architecture of Philip Johnson. As a curator, she developed the show and catalogue Philip Johnson: Architecture + Art and was named the Philip Johnson Scholar at the site in 2007. She most recently served on the Glass House’s advisory council. "Having sat side-by-side with Johnson for years, I feel confident that what would honor his and David Whitney's memory most would be for the property to evolve further as a center for the appreciation of architecture, design, and art not just as a museum of Johnson and Whitney's lives in New Canaan," Lewis said in a statement. "It's an honor to have the opportunity to work directly with the Glass House as it looks forward to its second decade of public engagement." The Glass House was built between 1949 and 1995 and is a National Trust Historic site located on 49-acres in New Canaan, Connecticut. In addition to the house itself, the property boasts sculptures and a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture as well as temporary exhibitions. "Hilary Lewis has influenced the Glass House site since its inception as a public museum. She will be a great addition to a great team. I look forward to her continuing contributions in programming content, visitation alternatives, site interpretation and team management,” said Gregory Sages, executive director at the Glass House. For more information and to learn more about its hours and tour season, check out its website.
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Yayoi Kusama peppers the Glass House with vivid red polka dots

First came the giant pumpkin. Next, the floating spheres. Now, artist Yayoi Kusama has speckled the Glass House with vivid vermillion polka dots.

Although Fujiko Nakayaam covered it in fog, and Julianna Barwick bathed it in ambient sound, Kusama’s Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope is the first piece to engage the surfaces of Philip Johnson's modernist New Canaan home directly. Bright red dots of varying sizes are pasted onto the Glass House's walls, playfully disrupting the structure's rigid geometries and distorting its regular patterns of light and shadow to create an "infinity room."

“My desire is to measure and to make order of the infinite, unbounded universe from my own position within it, with polka dots. In exploring this, the single dot is my own life, and I am a single particle amongst billions. I work with the principal themes of infinity, self-image, and compulsive repetition in objects and forms, such as the steel spheres of Narcissus Garden and the mirrored walls I have created,” Kusama explained in a statement.

“Kusama directly and deliberately plays with the surface of the Glass House,” curator Irene Shum told the New York Times. She added that Dots Obsession “draws the visitor out into the landscape with layer reflections of polka dots.”

The exhibition dialogues with Kusama's other works on-site. Her six-foot-tall PUMPKIN, installed in 2015, sits atop a hill northeast of the Brick House, where Ellsworth Kelly's Curve II (1973) once lived. Narcussis Garden, 1,300 12-inch reflective orbs, floats in the property's pond. The installation originally debuted at the 1966 Venice Biennale and was resurrected to celebrate Philip Johnson’s 110th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the Glass House’s public opening. Visitors can buy a sphere (“YOUR NARCISSIUM [sic]”) for two dollars apiece.

That installation closes September 7 and Dots Obsession runs through September 26. To see the three pieces together, Kusama fans should drop everything and get to New Canaan soon.

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Explore new images of Yayoi Kusama’s expansive Glass House installation

A series of new images showcase the latest installation at Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. The piece, called Narcissus Garden, is by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and consists of 1,300 reflective floating orbs. Narcissus Garden was first created fifty years ago for the 1966 Venice Biennale and it was revived to celebrate both Philip Johnson's 110th birthday and the 10th anniversary of the Glass House's opening to the public. The original installation doubled as a performance art piece, as Kusama sold the spheres for $2 each. The 12" reflective spheres float in a restored pond in the Lower Meadow, next to the Pond Pavilion. The Glass House is also exhibiting Kusama's PUMPKIN, a recent sculpture that will be placed on a hillside meadow northeast of the Brick House. The installation will be on display until September 7. Another Kusama piece called Dots Obsession will run from September 1 through 26, featuring a polka dot covered "infinity room" within the Glass House.
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Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden at Philip Johnson’s Glass House opens May 1

There is a new art installation at the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut opening this Sunday. The exhibit is called Yayoi Kusama: Narcissus Garden and will feature 1,300 giant reflective floating orbs, each 12 inches in diameter. The spheres by avant-garde and minimalist Japanese-born artist (and writer) Yayoi Kusama will float in a restored pond in the lower meadow, part of the 49 acre Glass House property. "We are honored to be working with Yayoi Kusama, an artist Philip Johnson both admired and collected," said Irene Shum, Curator and Collections Manager at the Glass House, in a statement. "This exhibition playfully engages the entire site, creating a celebratory mood for Philip Johnson's 110th birthday and the 10th year since the opening of this museum." Narcissus Garden was originally created and first installed at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966, where Kusama sold globes to people walking by her work for $2. She drew people in with two signs hawking "NARCISSUS GARDEN, KUSAMA" and "YOUR NARCISSIUM [sic] FOR SALE." With Kusama's penchant for neon candy colors and bold shapes (often polka dots, which she believes stands in for our souls) her work is said to have influenced Pop artists, including Andy Warhol. The Glass House will also feature two additional Kusama works on site. One is PUMPKIN (2015). "The first time I saw a pumpkin was in a farm in elementary school. In Japanese, a 'pumpkin head' is an ignorant man or a pudgy woman, but for me, I am charmed by its shape, form, and lack of pretension," Kusama said in a statement. The Glass House will host a third Kusama work: Dots Obsession - Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope, that is set to cover the Glass House in polka dots September 1-26, 2016. "My desire is to measure and to make order of the infinite, unbounded universe from my own position within it, with polka dots. In exploring this, the single dot is my own life, and I am a single particle amongst billions," said Kusama. "I work with the principal themes of infinity, self-image, and compulsive repetition in objects and forms, such as the steel spheres of Narcissus Garden and the mirrored walls I have created." Narcissus Garden will run through November 30, 2016.
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Henry Urbach leaves directorship of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Henry Urbach, Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, since 2012, has left the National Trust Historic site. Urbach came to the house from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He departed that job in 2011, in part to pursue a research project on the Johnson house, which he classified as “as a laboratory for curatorial experimentation.” As Director, Urbach launched a series of art and architecture installations on the 49-acre property. Urbach, who once had a gallery in New York City that showed architecture as well as art installations and drawings, said he now intends to pursue “research and writing projects.”
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Presents with Presence: AN’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide sure to please all the designers on your list

For those in the A/E/C practices, there is little doubt about the greatest gift of all: time. While AN can't source that elusive asset for you, we have assembled a collection of material goods that are designed to make life a little more elegant, efficient, and even fun. Happy holidays to all! Elements Collection J. Hill's Standard A fresh take on Irish cut crystal, this barware is marked by cuts and textures of varying depth, creating a graphic language. Designed by Scholten & Baijings. Ossidiana Alessi Fabricated out of cast aluminum, this old-school, new-style espresso makers comes in three sizes. Designed by Mario Trimarchi. Bauhaus Chess Set Chess House No prancing steeds or earnest foot soldiers here: Wood cubes, spheres, and cylinders comprose this 1923 chess set. Designed by Josef Hartwig. Glass House Snow Globe The Glass House You'll never have to battle the traffic on I-95 or shovel the snow at this finely crafted miniature masterwork. Flo Bedside/Desk Light Lumina Italia Rotate the head of this minimalist light fixture to focus the LED beam where it's wanted. In varnish-coated aluminum and steel, the fixture is also available in clamp, wall, floor, and grommet styles. Designed by Foster +  Partners. FollowMe Lamp Marset Cordless and rechargable via USB, this oak-handled lamp shines a diffuse light through its polycarbonate shade. Designed by Inma Bermudez. Prismatic Scarves notNeutral From the product-design branch of Los Angeles-based architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios, these thirty-inch-square silk scarves are based on color studies for a competition project. Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography Yale University Press Featuring more than 250 plates, this book by Philadelphia Museum of Art curators Peter Barberie and Amanda N. Bock chronicles the career of the seminal photographer. Louise Fili, Perfetto Pencils Princeton Architectural Press Graphic designer Louise Fili celebrates Italian typography with these two-tone pencils; related items include notecards and a book. Qlocktwo W Watch Biegert & Funk In this reactionary design to a digital world, a grid of 110 letters illuminates the time in text form. And it's multi-lingual: The watch communicates in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Arabic. Brut Nature 2006 Louis Roederer Of his design for the packaging for this vintage, Philippe Starck says, "The contents are so potent I decided to design a bottle that was stripped of any superfluous embellishment." Shape of Sound Artifice Books Architect Victoria Meyers examines the dynamic relationship between architectural forms and materials and acoustics in this amply illustrated book. Snøhetta Limited Edition, XO Contemporary Cognac Braastad Adding Scandinavian cool to a classic French product, the graphic design team at Snøhetta uses subtle metallic colors and hand-lettering to reinvigorate the image of the stodgy spirit. Archaeologist Chopstick Rests Spin Ceramics Impeccably details and finished, these glazed clay pieces are both naturalistic and abstract in form. Eight pieces to a set; designed by Na An.
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Philip Johnson’s Farney House in Sagaponack, New York has been demolished

The village of Sagaponack, New York has confirmed to AN that Philip Johnson’s Farney House has been demolished. A Robert A.M. Stern–designed home is expected to rise in its place. Johnson completed the home in 1946, just three years before his world-famous Glass House in New Canaan. The now-disappeared Hamptons home is believed to have inspired that later work. The demolition does not come as a surprise. In early September, local publication 27East reported that the new owners of the $24 million house were expected to replace it with a Stern-designed structure—and there was little anyone could do about it. According to 27East, Sagaponack’s Architectural and Historic Review Board could not protect the property on legal grounds given the “extensive modifications” it had undergone over the years. Efforts to relocate the home were also unsuccessful. The Farney House, which was built for a couple of the same name, was originally a single-story, rectangular structure clad in cedar siding. According to the village of Sagaponack, the house was set upon a new foundation in 1975, and then underwent more extreme renovations in 1988: The house's main floor was expanded by more than 50 percent and the open space below the existing volume was filled-in to create two stories. The house's original windows windows and siding were also removed. At some unknown point in time, the home's deck was significantly enlarged as well. The village also noted that a swimming pool was added to the lot in 1981 and a tennis court in 1994. According to its sales listing, in its final state, the home comprised about 5,000-square-feet and sat upon 3.6 acres of waterfront property. [h/t Curbed]
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On View> Fujiko Nakaya: Veil at the Philip Johnson Glass House

Fujiko Nakaya: Veil Philip Johnson Glass House 199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT Through November 30 For its 65th anniversary, Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, is hosting an exhibition by Fujiko Nakaya that utilizes the historic site itself. Veil shrouds the Glass House as well as the surrounding landscape with fog by running fresh water through high-pressure pumps. The fog will be heavily released then dissipated at set time intervals to obscure the visibility of the area and create a unique experience for visitors. Fujiko Nakaya is well known internationally for her consistent usage of fog in her installations. In 1970, Nakaya created the first-ever fog sculpture by enveloping the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, in mist. This exhibition is the first of Nakaya’s works to be displayed on the East Coast in the U.S.