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City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?
Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress
Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk
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Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies
Modernism on the East Coast
Iconic Houses in Latin America
House Tours May 2018
Our Badge of Honour
Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson
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Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)
Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio
Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association
Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico
De Stijl in Drachten
Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio
Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru
Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil
Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition
Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece
In Berlin’s Modernist Network
Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary
Meet Our New Foundation Board Members
Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D
Getty Grant for Villa E-1027
11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List
At home with Le Corbusier
Wright Plus 2016 Walk
Documentary La Ricarda
Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld
Barragán House on Screen
Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move
Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013
Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open
September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris
June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments
Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook
Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture
Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse
New arrivals: Spain special
MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June
Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May
Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen
Message from the Editor
Neutra’s House on Screen
Melnikov House on Screen
Iconic Houses in the media
Message from the Editor
Eileen Gray House on Screen
New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches
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Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson and his Glass House
Hilary Lewis, our conference co-chair, is Chief Curator and Creative Director of the Glass House. A renowned Philip Johnson scholar, she met the architect in 1992 and worked with him closely on books and publications, including his memoirs. She took up her current post in January 2017. Hilary was moderating a panel discussion at our Fifth International Iconic Houses Conference in New Canaan 15-18 May 2018. The panel discussion can be watched in the (below) link.
|Panel discussion The Harvard Five – The Advent of Modernism in New Canaan|
You probably knew the Glass House inside out before you ever became its chief curator and creative director.
True – my relationship with the house goes back 25 years, to the days when Philip Johnson lived here, and I would visit him just about every week. Then after his death in 2005, and before the house opened to the public in 2007, the National Trust brought me in as an advisor. Having been so close to the house for such a long time, I find my present position a great responsibility and a great honor.
What’s new for you regarding your current role?
The curatorial element. Philip Johnson was an avid art collector – in fact, he was MoMA’s second-largest donor. In addition to the Glass House, there are 13 other structures on site. We use the site to host exhibitions and performances, reflecting his times and his interest in the avant-garde. I see the art events as very much a part of his legacy and it’s an important aspect of my role to consider which ones best represent that.
Is there a key message you want the house to convey?
Philip Johnson thought it was important for architecture and art to evolve continuously. He believed in preservation, but also in change. He wanted to facilitate exciting new developments – which is why, for example, we have young choreographers presenting experimental work at our location.
What do you think Philip Johnson means to your younger visitors?
Today his work is being discovered by a whole new generation — from the more traditional Modern buildings to his Postmodern efforts. He was always willing to change and to embrace the future. He was ahead of his time not only architecturally, but also in other ways – his openness about his homosexuality, for example.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the Glass House?
To maintain the same interest and vibrancy that we had when the house was first opened. Another huge challenge is, of course, preservation – for us that means not only the house itself, but also a 49-acre landscape and all 14 structures.
As someone who knew him well, what do you hope the house conveys about Philip Johnson’s personality?
His wit and sense of humor – he was funny, charming and playful. He was truly larger than life and I wish we could recreate him in the house in some way. We’re working on presenting more of his ideas and writings to try to bring that to our audience. In our visitors center we have a video wall that shows the richness of his life and experience.
You see his humor most readily perhaps in other structures he built on the site – including the tower with oversized steps, the Kirstein Tower and also in the gatehouse, Da Monsta, the name of which pokes fun at his own patrician accent.
Based on your experience at the Glass House, what tips do you have for other house museums?
It’s important to find different ways for people to experience your house, and events and exhibitions are a great way of doing this. Partnering with other institutions can help bring art and activities to your house museum, so you always have something new to show.
Hilary recommends watching these interviews about Philip Johnson’s influence with Norman Foster, Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, Richard Meier, Jaquelin T. Robertson, Richard Rogers, Vincent Scully, and Robert A.M. Stern.
Architecture & Influence. The Philip Johnson Glass House Oral History Project (12:14)
Photo: Hilary in the door opening of The Glass House by Philip Johnson (New Canaan, CT, USA).
Publication date 15 February 2018