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Glass House Chronology

1945  Philip Johnson first visits original Glass House site in New Canaan, Connecticut.

1946  Johnson acquires initial five acres on Ponus Ridge in New Canaan.

1947-48  Johnson develops design for Glass House and Brick House. Clears portion of land, which is primarily forested.

1949  Glass House and Brick House are completed.

1955  Johnson designs and builds circular pool on property.

1960  Johnson meets David Whitney; Whitney joins Johnson on site where he continues to live for the rest of their lives.

1962  Johnson designs and builds the Lake Pavilion (“pavilion in the pond.”) The use of flattened arches is in keeping with a number of other projects Johnson is doing for museums at this time.

1965  Johnson designs and builds the Painting Galley, which features a combined storage and display system.

1970  Johnson designs and builds the Sculpture Gallery, modeled on the concept of a Mediterranean hilltown brought indoors.

1977  Entrance gate is completed by Johnson. One of the few postmodern elements on the site.

1980  Library/study completed on site. Employs a recombination of geometric forms. interior features furniture by Frank Gehry and carpet by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

1984  Ghost House completed. Built using chain link, a reference to the materiality of Frank Gehry and the concepts of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

1985  Johnson completes the Lincoln Kirstein Tower, dedicated to Johnson’s college friend Lincoln Kirstein, who founded the Harvard Society for Contemporary Art and would later be co-founder of the New York City Ballet.

1986  Johnson executes bequest of Glass House property to National Trust for Historic Preservation

1995  Johnson begins designing Da Monsta in 1992, following his interest in work by Frank Stella for a museum in Dresden, Germany. The building is also predicated on Johnson’s understanding of the contemporary architectural direction towards non-Euclidean geometry as well as his interest in German Expressionism.

1997  Construction of “Doghouse.” This small structure was created by Johnson as a conceptual project for a classically-inspired tomb. However, when completed the small wooden object turned out to be just the right size for his and Whitney’s new puppies to inhabit, hence the now nickname of “doghouse.”

1998-2003  Various projects at the Glass House are considered by Johnson, including a Wayfarer’s Chapel, but none are built.

2005  Johnson dies in January 2005 at 98 and Whitney passes away in June of the same year.

2007  The National Trust for Historic Preservation opens the property to the public, beginning a new era for this property as a home for the arts.

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