The home of Philip Johnson

The Glass House

Photographed by Paul Mpagi Sepuya
He died where he lived at age 98, watching the landscape through glass walls. Playful and enigmatic, Philip Johnson will be remembered as “the man in the Glass House” both for the design of his modernist home and the life he lived there.

He shared his life with his partner David Whitney, who helped to design and mantain the stunning landscape and gardens on the property, located in New Canaan, Connecticut. Although they maintained an apartment, the glass house was always considered home once the years expanded and developed the site, which now contains 14 diverse structures, some built for function, others for folly. Johnson loved nothing more than to take guests on tours through the property, discussing the architecture and art collected there, a practice that lives on even now under the direction of Henry Urbach.


Walking through the Glass House today in the year of its 65th Anniversary, the property and the décor capture the original design, including the iconic daybed that was designed especially for Johnson by Mies Van Der Rohe. The site, located in New Canaan, Connecticut, has a relaxed and leiseurely air, designed with a deep appreciation aesthetics.

In the documentary Diary of an Eccentric Architect, Johnson talks us through the experience of walking trough the doorway, placed in perfect symmetry in the centre of the glass wall. Walking into the house he explains the flow of the eye around the open space “as you turn the world changes because your point of vision goes round and round. It’s like a dog sniffing its way around a room, always round the outside…and curls up and goes to sleep”.

Read the full story in Issue 2