The Glass House Blog

Modern Views: Ken Smith

Modern Views: A Project to Benefit the Farnsworth House and the Glass House invited some of our era’s top creative minds to continue one of the twentieth century’s great cultural dialogues; the historic exchange reflected in the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House (1945 – 51) and the Philip Johnson Glass House (1949).

One hundred contemporary artists, architects, and designers created and donated works of art and written statements, capturing their thoughts and inspirations about these iconic buildings and the architects who created them.
Join us for the Modern Views event to be held at Sotheby’s in New York on October 6 (reply card here). The evening will feature an auction (complete catalogue here) and the premiere of the film, Points on a Line, by artist Sarah Morris.

GRASS GLASS, 2010. Lenticular print, 16" x 16", Courtesy of the Designer, photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s

“When I think of the Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House the predominant images that come to my mind are of grass and glass. A radical goal of the modernists was that of transparency and the idea of the landscape moving from outside to inside and through the house. The landscape setting and the architectural space are collapsed into iconic abstractions in these houses. Both houses are as much landscape as architecture.” — Ken Smith

Ken Smith is part of a new generation of landscape architects who are equally at home in the worlds of art, architecture and urbanism.  As he was trained in both design and the fine arts, he explores the relationship between art, contemporary culture and landscape.

He is committed to creating landscapes, especially parks and other public spaces, as a way of improving the quality of urban life.  His work pushes beyond traditional landscape typologies – plaza, street, and garden to landscapes that draw on diverse cultural traditions and influences of the contemporary urban landscape.



GRASS GLASS, 2010. Lenticular print, 16” x 16” Courtesy of the Designer, photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s

Current projects:

Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California

Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York, New York – just completed

East River Waterfront, New York, New York

Croton Water Treatment Plant, Bronx, New York


The Library Book:  Design Collaborations in the Public Schools, Anooradha Siddiqi, Princeton Architectural Press, April 2010


Filed under: Modern Views

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