Restoring the Brick House at Phillip Johnson's Glass House
The Philip Johnson Glass House - Brick House (1949)
Designed 1945-48; completed 1949. Interior remodeled 1953 Brick and wood frame construction; 988 sq. ft. The Glass House and the Brick House offer a lesson of contrasts. Designed at the same time, the Brick House was completed a few months before the Glass House. A grassy court links the two buildings conceived of as a single composition. Both houses are 56 feet long; however, the Brick House is only half as deep as the Glass House. The Brick House contains all the support systems necessary for the function of both buildings. As opposed to the transparency of the Glass House, brick almost completely encases the house.
The only windows, with the exception of the skylights, are large circular forms at the rear of the building. According to Johnson, this series of round openings alludes to Filippo Brunelleschi's fifteenth century Duomo in Florence. Johnson remodeled the interior of the Brick House in 1953. Originally there were three equally-sized guest rooms, but now a narrow skylit corridor connects a bedroom and reading room.
The low, sleek, white vaults that decorate the bedroom are based on the breakfast room of the Sir John Soane House in London completed in 1824, and are harbingers of lements later found in Johnson's original design of the synagogue for the Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel in Port Chester, New York and later at Lincoln Center. The room is covered in a patterned silk fabric designed by Fortuny. Prints by Brice Marden line the corridor, and the reading room consists of Johnson's library of philosophy, history, and art history books.
Overview of work:
- Preservation assessment - structural, environmental, curatorial
- Re-orientation of the underground waterway - landwork
- Interior removal, restoration and replacement
- Curatorial treatment - fabrics/textiles, artwork, books, furniture
- Exterior envelope restoration and watertightening