The Glass House Blog

2014 Glass House tour tickets available now! New this season: self-guided tours

2014 Glass House Tour Tickets Now Available

The Glass House, Photo by Robin Hill

Photo by Robin Hill

Tours of the Glass House will run between May 1 – November 30, 2014
2014 program and exhibition announcements coming soon.

New this season: self-guided tours

Self-guided tours at the Glass House will be available on select dates and offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the Glass House campus and its pastoral landscape at their own pace. In addition to the permanent art collection and temporary exhibitions, visitors enjoy access to seven structures designed by Philip Johnson, including the Glass House, the Painting Gallery, the Sculpture Gallery, Da Monsta, and the Library, as well as the lower landscape’s Pond Pavilion and Lincoln Kirstein Tower. Glass House guides will be available to provide historical background and answer questions.

Buy Tickets

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Glass House Readings with Phyllis Lambert + Mark Lamster, Sunday, October 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Glass House


Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Phyllis Lambert in front of an image of the model for the Seagram building, New York, 1955. Gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 × 9 3/8 in. Photographer unknown. Fonds Phyllis Lambert, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. © United Press International.


Co-hosted by The New Canaan Library at The Glass House

Phyllis Lambert will read from her new book, Building Seagram

Sunday, October 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Glass House Readings brings notable authors and intellectuals to the Glass House to read from a new work. The guest author and audience will also walk the site and enjoy refreshments. Visitors begin and end at the Glass House Visitor Center, located at 199 Elm Street directly across from the New Canaan train station. Space is limited; reservations are required. Tickets $75.00, price includes admission and a signed copy of Building Seagram.

Architect, photographer, lecturer, historian and critic of architecture and urbanism, Phyllis Lambert is Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. Lambert first made architectural history as the Director of Planning of the Seagram Building in New York (1954-58). She is recognized internationally for her contribution in advancing contemporary architecture, together with for her concern for the social issues of urban conservation and the role of architecture in the public realm. Lambert has pioneered and contributed to publications on photography and architecture, architecture and landscape, conservation, and the urban history of Montreal. Recently published, Building Seagram is a cultural history of architecture, art, urban regulations and real estate, as well as conservation and stewardship in New York City, 1950-2000.

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and associate professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is currently at work on a biography of Philip Johnson, to be published by Little Brown. A contributing editor to Architectural Review and Design Observer, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many national magazines.

For more than a decade, Lamster served as an editor at Princeton Architectural Press, in New York. Prior to that, he was an editor at George Braziller, the distinguished publisher of illustrated books. He is the author of numerous books, including Master of Shadows (2009), a political biography of the painter Peter Paul Rubens, and Spalding’s World Tour(2006), the story of a group of all-star baseball players who circled the globe in the 19th century. His research papers from that book are available at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown. He holds degrees from Johns Hopkins and Tufts universities.

For tickets please visit or call the Glass House

199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT  06840 | Phone: 203.594.9884


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Happy Birthday, Philip Johnson!

ArchDaily 7.8.2013

Image via ArchDaily

Philip Johnson (1906-2005) was born today, July 8, 1906, in Cleveland, Ohio. In celebration of the architect’s birthday, ArchDaily shares an overview of Johnson and his work: Happy 107th birthday Philip Johnson!

Learn more about Johnson and plan your visit to the Glass House at!

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Alastair Gordon Hosts an Online Debate: Buckminster Fuller vs. Philip Johnson

Buckminster Fuller swinging from the Woods Hole (Mass.) dome in 1955, while it was still under construction.

Buckminster Fuller swinging from the Woods Hole (Mass.) dome in 1955, while it was still under construction.

Join our latest online Glass House Conversation hosted by critic, curator, and filmmaker Alastair Gordon. He poses the question:

I’m at work on a book about Buckminster Fuller and recently came across a statement by Philip Johnson about Fuller.

“Bucky Fuller was no architect,” said Johnson. “We all hated him because he really thought the profession was unnecessary.” Fuller, it should be noted, referred to architects as “exterior decorators” and frequently dismissed their role.

The Glass House, designed by Johnson, and the geodesic dome designed by Fuller, seem to be absolute opposites, but it can be argued that they are both Utopian artifacts coming from radically different perspectives.

I’m curious about this apparent rift between these two contemporaries and leaders in design.

In your opinion, who left a bigger imprint on culture and whose ideas are more relevant for the future of the planet? Buckminster Fuller or Philip Johnson?


Philip Johnson in front of the Glass House in 1949. Photo: Arnold Newman/Getty Images.

Philip Johnson in front of the Glass House in 1949. Photo: Arnold Newman/Getty Images.

So far the debate is tied, with great comments from Terence Riley, Joan Grossman, Bruce Dehnert and Elizabeth Thompson. Join the discussion, share your thoughts, and help break the tie! Post your comments now at!

*ag- head shot 2 edited-avatarAlastair Gordon is an award-winning critic, curator and filmmaker who has written regularly about art, architecture and the environment for many different publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Le Monde, Architectural Digest, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, House & Garden and Dwell. He is the author of numerous critically-acclaimed books including Weekend Utopia, Naked Airport, Spaced Out, Wandering Forms, Qualities of Duration, Beach Houses: Andrew Geller, and Convergence. He is also co-founder and Editorial Director of Gordon de Vries Studio, an imprint that publishes books about the human environment.

You can read Alastair Gordon’s writing at

Glass House Conversations draws upon the legacy of Philip Johnson and David Whitney, who brought together people from many backgrounds to join the cultural dialogue of the 20th century. The Glass House extends this “salon “through Conversations in Context as well as Glass House Conversations, an online moderated public dialogue. Invited hosts post a question or debate topic and responders worldwide have up to two weeks to join the online conversation.

The Glass House, built between 1949 – 1995 by architect Philip Johnson, is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan, CT. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises 14 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 or call 866.811.4111.

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One of the most important homes in America needs you

Dear Friends of the Glass House,

The Glass HouseThe Glass House is approaching the end of an exciting season with the introduction of many new programs, part of a strategic initiative I like to refer to as Glass House 2.0. The Glass House of Philip Johnson and David Whitney was known as “the most sustained cultural salon the United States has ever seen.” Glass House 1.0 represented the first five years of the house’s public life as a National Trust Historic Site and house museum. Glass House 2.0 aims to recapture the site’s earlier legacy as a unique cultural center, a laboratory for the presentation of new works and ideas.

This year we launched an exhibitions program with two shows: Frank Stella: Scarlatti Kirkpatrick and Night (1947-2015) and welcomed over 13,000 visitors to the site. We also inaugurated a fresh flowers program, bringing new life to the interior of the Glass House. In the coming seasons, we will develop more ambitious projects, and are currently exploring new programs and activities that will strengthen the liveliness and relevance of our special site. Educational programs continue to take center stage, as we host monthly Conversations in Context, Glass House Conversations, and think tanks both on site and in the field, including our first participation in this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. In time, we hope to add site-specific initiatives including residency programs, performances, and scholarly and community gatherings.

The Brick HouseIn addition to urgent needs, we are still working to raise funds to restore the Brick House, which has remained closed for the last five years, as well as make necessary repairs to the Sculpture Gallery roof. The Glass House is a preservation-based organization, and its 14 buildings, world-class art collection and 49-acre landscape demand ongoing maintenance.

To maintain our role as an important cultural asset and site of international significance, we need your support. Please help with a generous year-end donation. We welcome your support at every level.

Donate Now

If you would like to speak to a Glass House representative about your donation, please contact Scott Drevnig, Director of Development, at 203-594-9884 x33335, or

James WellingAs a thank you for a donation of $2,500 or more, we are pleased to send you a signed copy of the James Welling: Glass House hardcover book. This book features mesmerizing images by one of the world’s eminent photographers.

We have an exciting new year in the works, filled with a vibrant and diverse range of exhibitions and programming. Thank you in advance for your care and support of the Glass House. We have a special place and an incredible team serving as its stewards.

Warm regards,


Henry Urbach




Filed under: Conversations in Context, Educational Partnership, Exhibitions, Glass House Conversations, Message from the Director, Preservation in Action, Tours + Programs, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stephanie Barron, Senior Curator + Head of Modern Art at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hosts a Glass House Conversation

What is it that intrigues an architect about the work of a sculptor and what is it about architectural forms that engage a sculptor’s practice?

Stephanie Barron

Stephanie Barron, senior curator and head of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Join us for an online Glass House Conversation hosted by Stephanie Barron, senior curator and head of modern art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), going on now through December 23 at

Over the past three years organizing Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective for LACMA I’ve thought a great deal about the intersection between architecture and sculpture.The question of presentation and architectural design was quintessential, and I turned to Price’s longtime friend and admirer, architect Frank O. Gehry, to design the show, which allowed me a window through which to observe this intersection.

The work of a number of artists provoke a compelling examination of the intersection and boundaries between architecture and sculpture. Whether it is Richard Serra’s large, undulating ribbons of steel or the intimate, organic, ceramic sculptures of Ken Price, these convergences invite serious considerations about their relationships to architectural forms.

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Rebecca Allan, painter and Head of Education at the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design, and Material Culture Hosts a Glass House Conversation

Succulent Garden at The Glass House

Rebecca Allan

Rebecca Allan

Join us for an online Glass House Conversation hosted by Rebecca Allan and inspired by The Glass House landscape. Allan is a painter and Head of Education at the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design, and Material Culture in New York City, and she also participated in the Education Think Tank held at The Glass House on July 18, 2012, her visit inspiring the question:

The impulse to shape, to restrain, or to allow nature to remain “unsupervised” is often present in the working practices of creators across various disciplines. The Glass House occupies a richly varied landscape whose features encompass natural woodlands, a small lake, and lush fields of grass as well as unique plantings and gardens that provide a counterpoint to and container for its 14 architectural structures.

Johnson’s life partner David Whitney, an innovative gardener, designed a remarkable Succulent Garden, enclosed by a pink granite cube inspired by a small pencil drawing by Kasimir Malevich. The chain link walls of Johnson’s Ghost House contained a stand of Oriental lilies. Parts of the property’s second-growth forest were cleared to create views that featured follies, pavilions, and architectural elements.

How does your practice reflect, contain, or examine aspects of wildness?

Share your thoughts–join the discussion, going on now through Sunday, September 23, at!

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New Program Reintroduces Fresh Flowers to The Glass House, Generously Supported by Architectural Digest Magazine

Flowers at The Glass House

Flowers at The Glass House, 2003. Photo courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

For the first time since Philip Johnson lived in his iconic Glass House, fresh flowers will be on display there, bringing new life to the building’s interiors. The Glass House has launched a program, announced by Director Henry Urbach, to reintroduce fresh flower arrangements, which have not been seen in the house since Philip Johnson’s and his partner, David Whitney’s, passing in 2005. Local designer Dana Worlock will reinterpret Whitney’s original plant selection, adding and adapting to suit the specific environmental conditions and seasonal changes of the Glass House.

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Join a Glass House Conversation on Play, Health + Well-being Hosted by Joyce S. Lee

The Fort Worth Water Garden, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, designed by architect Philip Johnson. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Emily E Cline

Joyce S. Lee

Joyce S. Lee

Join our current Glass House Conversation hosted by Joyce S. Lee, FAIA, LEED AP, former Active Design director at the New York City Department of Design and Construction, where she worked to develop the Active Design Guidelines, a manual that outlines strategies to combat obesity and chronic diseases through the design of healthier buildings, streets and urban spaces. The online Conversation is based on the question:

The Glass House was a weekend retreat for Philip Johnson and a place where he explored themes of play through the design of buildings and landscapes. Johnson and guests could interact with the environment by walking, strolling and climbing, as well as enjoy the view.

Today many designers, architects and urban planners are working to create spaces that encourage play, health and well-being. From my experience, employing the practice of evidence-based design opens up a productive and informative interdisciplinary dialogue with professionals from across the fields of science, medicine, design and culture.

What does it take to create beautiful, comfortable spaces that encourage play, health and well-being?

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Join the Discussion! Hannia Gómez Hosts a Glass House Conversation

Villa Planchart in 1963. Image from Archivo Gio Ponti Caracas.

Hannia Gómez - Plaza de los Museos, CaracasJoin us for this week’s online Glass House Conversation hosted by Hannia Gómez, President of Fundacion de la Memoria Urbana, founder and vice president of Docomomo Venezuela, and former curator of Gio Ponti’s Villa Planchart, a modern home in Caracas, Venezuela:

The recently restored Tugendhat House by Mies van der Rohe has just reopened to the public. In the words of Jean-Louis Cohen in The Wall Street Journal, the House’s restoration “has benefited from a new approach to preserving Modernist buildings”, and now “a new generation of experts takes an “archaeological” view, yielding superb results.” The Tugendhat House recovered “its grand atmosphere from the 1930s”.

Having worked for many years as curator of Gio Ponti’s Villa Planchart in Caracas (1957), I witnessed a totally different – much slower, less scientific, but very successful – preservation process. Similarly perfect results were achieved through years of intuition and passion for architecture.

How will the latest trend in preservation process and interest in Modernist buildings impact the threatened/saved Modern heritage of the world?

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