Glass House


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.

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7 thoughts on “Glass House

  • October 30, 2017 at 1:17 pm
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    I love sitting outside. But the insects and I don’t get along. (lol). Being in a glass house would be wonderful. You get the experience of being outside without the insects. I’ve always loved sitting on my Aunt’s glassed in patio. The glass house would be ideal for anyone that loves the outdoors but can’t go out to enjoy it.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  • October 30, 2017 at 2:25 pm
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    This glass house looks very nice. It is especially beautiful because of the scenery behind it. It is huge also. I have a friend who is a veteran from the army, and he lives in a glass house also. I have never been there, but he mentioned it once when we were talking about moving around the country. He said he won’t move because he doesn’t want to give up on his glass house. I thought it was funny how someone would live in a glass house. Now that I looked at the illustrations, I realized that it is actually very nice. No wonder. If you have a choice, would you live in a glass house also?

    Reply
  • October 30, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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    This looks like a beautiful location and one that deserves a best of class designation.

    What were your thoughts about the layout and furnishings? I felt like it was done with a very sparse type of decoration and lets the outside drive the aesthetics.

    Where could I buy a book or pictures of this beautiful building?

    Reply
  • November 3, 2017 at 4:18 am
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    Hey Lauren:

    Thanks for featuring Philip Johnson’s glass house in this post. I love looking at it and imagining what it would be like to be able to live at one-remove from the nature surrounding it.

    I am not so sure I’d be able to keep up with the demands of all that glass-cleaning, however.

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    • November 3, 2017 at 4:18 am
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      I know right lol, I’d definitely be shopping at Sam’s Club and buying the industrial size glass cleaner. Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • February 19, 2018 at 9:37 pm
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    Absolutely beautiful.

    Lovely day of course which is perfect for a glass house. Reminds me of a few houses although not glass that Frank Lloyd Wright built in Wisconsin.

    All featured the outdoors which is fine with me. Although I hope people don’t throw stones. Seriously an amazing tranquil place being no neighbors.

    How about you? What is your favorite?

    Reply
    • February 20, 2018 at 12:14 am
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      I imagine there would be many days that would be perfect to lounge around in The Glass House.  I’d love to go into the different buildings on the property. So cool. I plan on doing hundreds of posts on different houses so we’ll have to see about a favorite. Hopefully you will keep checking in to give your thoughts. Thank You!

      Reply

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