The Glass House

By ABC By Design
Witty, wealthy and extremely talented, Philip Johnson was one of the greatest architects America has produced. He helped establish modernism in the United States, was the founding curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, and also a significant patron of the arts. But none of his buildings match the fame and influence of the home he designed for himself, a place he called the Glass House, which sits on a rural estate outside the town of New Canaan, Connecticut. An elegant, rectangular, open-plan box made of four uncurtained glass walls built in 1949, it remains as modern as tomorrow. Over half a century until his death aged 98 five years ago, Johnson built a number of other extraordinary structures on his estate to test his architectural theories. But it's the Glass House itself that is attracting thousands of architecture lovers from around the world. In the first of a two-part series, Mark Wakely makes the pilgrimage to the Glass House for By Design.
3 February 2010



ABC Radio National’s By Design is a program about how we shape our world - a vibrant show about people and the things that surround us.
From the cities and buildings we live in to the cars we drive and clothes we wear, the program deals with architecture and material culture, the politics of the built environment and design - all through the prism of our daily lives.
It explains how, through the creative process, human ideas take on tangible form and designers reinvent the world to keep pace with its changing needs and desires, lifting the quality of our lives.
The program explores how design -- the way things look, feel and function -- reflects social change; what the decisions we make as consumers of architecture and everyday objects tell us about who we are.