The Glass House was built on Ponus Ridge Road in New Canaan, Connecticut in 1949. Designed by Philip Johnson, the house is one of 13 buildings on the sprawling 49-acre estate. The house sits on a hill that overlooks a pond and a stretch of woods. The house is 55 feet long and 33 feet wide, with 1,815 square feet. The kitchen, dining room and bedrooms were all in one glass-enclosed room. The four exterior walls is punctuated by a centrally located glass door that opens onto the landscape. The landscape surrounding the buildings was designed by Johnson and David Whitney to resemble Nicolas Poussin’s landscape painting, The Funeral of Phocion.
The placement of furniture throughoutThe Glass House is precise and defines the living area. The living room, which is the focal point of the house, is the center from which the site is successively occupied. Most of the furniture in the house came from Johnson’s New York apartment, designed in 1930 by Mies van der Rohe. Two Circus Women, a sculpture by Elie Nadelman stands opposite of the Poussin painting in the “living room”.
Johnson called the property a “diary of an eccentric architect,” an homage to architects and friends. Other structures on the property include the “Brick House”, which serves as a guest house, The Kirstein Tower, The pavilion, the sculpture gallery, the Painting Gallery, the study, the ghost house, and the gate house.
The Glass House is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site and open to the public for tours which include about a 3/4 mile walk and about a 90 minute tour. Tours at twilight and “personalized” tours are also available.
Glass House was featured in Life Magazine in 1949, and “It is still considered one of his best buildings,” according to the Encyclopedia of American Architecture.