Press Release

The Replacement of the Glass House Ceiling

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (March 1, 2018) – The Glass House continues our ongoing commitment to architecture and the arts with the replacement of the entire ceiling of the iconic structure. The Glass House, completed in 1949, is one of 14 structures on the 49-acre site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In recent years, the ceiling of the Glass House was sagging in several areas. In 2015, the ceiling was stabilized where the decoupling from its support was most significant while a study was performed to identify the optimal repair process. Upon visual inspection, the system attaching the ceiling to the roof timbers was noted to be poorly constructed. Almost half of the ceiling was compromised. The 1,800 square foot plaster ceiling was applied in a three-coat plaster system on lathe with the top coat being a self-colored plaster mixed with asbestos with a texture to appear like exterior stucco. The presence of asbestos in the ceiling plaster also contributed to the need for complete repair and remediation. In addition, the system attaching the ceiling to the roof timbers was noted to be inadequate for the weight of the ceiling. The damaged ceiling also prevented the opening of two of the four doors in the Glass House, hampering the functionality originally designed by Philip Johnson.

The scope of the project includes the replacement of the entire plaster ceiling, metal lath, and fasteners. The ceiling replacement began on December 1st 2017 and will take approximately three months to complete. The project team includes EverGreene Architectural Arts, Silman Structural Engineers, Glass House staff and Ashley Wilson AIA, ASID, Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“The Glass House is an international icon of modern architecture where visitors come to study and celebrate architecture, art, design and landscape architecture,” said Glass House Executive Director, Gregory Sages. “The replaced ceiling will allow visitors to experience Johnson’s intended design and functionality of the house and the objects contained inside.”

The Glass House ceiling replacement was partially funded through grants from the Bank of America 2016 Art Conservation Project and the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

About the Bank of America Art Conservation Project

This grant is a unique program that provides grants to nonprofit museums throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of deterioration. Since the program’s launch in 2010, Bank of America has provided grants to museums in 29 countries supporting over 100 conservation projects. Projects in 2016 include ‘Blue Boy’ a painting by Thomas Gainsborough at The Huntington Library in Los Angeles; a painting by Claude Monet at the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas; 11 works of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago including ‘Jackie Frieze, 1964’; three monumental paintings by Salvador Dali at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg. Fla.; and a 6th century haniwa (terracotta tomb figure) at the Tokyo National Museum. Art Conservation Project

About the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community

The Department of Economic and Community Development is the state’s lead agency responsible for strengthening Connecticut’s competitive position in the rapidly-changing knowledge-based global economy. The agency takes a comprehensive approach to economic development that incorporates community development, transportation, education and arts and culture.

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