What I like about Philip Johnson’s Glass House is how humble it seems. Sitting quietly in the landscape. The layer of brick brings the floating glass down to earth. Also the brick cylinder housing the bathroom and a fireplace sits lovingly within the house. I was curious about this brick cylinder and read a reference to it in a book about Johnson by Franz Schulz.
Johnson called the brick cylinder, “The main motif of the house.” On paper, it reads like a circle from a “Suprematist painting by Kazimir Malevich.” And the facade view reminded him of “a burnt wooden village I saw once where nothing was left but foundations and chimneys of brick.” Oh dear, don’t mention the war… But it also seems, in an ironic way, to symbolise a very 1950s American idea of the family home and the hearth. A really big hearth.
This photo shows all its earthiness and the lovely (unauthenticated) Burial of Phocion by Poussin on the easel. The sculpture on the right is Two Circus Women by Elie Nadelman.
| Philip Johnson, Glass House interior, 1949 |
| Philip Johnson, Glass House 1949, photo by Julius Schulman & Juergen Nogai|