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WHEN Philip Johnsonâ€™s Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., officially opens to the public on June 21, paying visitors will have a chance to explore one of the worldâ€™s most celebrated works of Modernism for the first time since its completion in 1949. The diminutive glass-and-steel building and its uncluttered interior, which have barely changed in 58 years, are so spare that it is hard to imagine that anyone ever lived there. But for nearly all that time, it was the constantly used country retreat of its round-spectacled creator, who shared it after 1960 with David Whitney.
It was David Whitney who eventually lived in one of the older houses. . .
I knew David casually at RISD (we did a little theater work together) but didn't learn until after graduation (he in '63, I in '64) that he had befriended Johnson.
Wright would certainly consider the house "unlivable." He enjoyed telling the story of surprising the occupants in bed upon an early arrival.
My favorite FLlW-to-Johnson is quoted (again) in Franz Schulze's 1994 biography (p 224):
Wright's pique sometimes coupled with pique, begetting fury. One evening in 1955, having been invited to lecture at Yale, he arrived in New Haven, to find no one waiting for him at the railroad station. Interpreting as an affront what had been a student oversight, he worked up a full head of rage that had dissipated only a little by the time he was finally picked up and spirited to the Taft Hotel. It was the ill luck of Philip to encounter him a little later in the middle of a knot of students and faculty. Wright made the most of the moment. "Why, little Phil," he roared, his voice equal parts unguent and acid, "I thought you were dead! Are you still putting up all those little houses and leaving them out in the rain?"
The Old Man and the wunderkind, c 1953
Schulze's cover photo -- the silly Old Man himself ! And what is that in the background -- cracked glass ?