A film by Open Space
The Glass House
26. September 2023
Photo: Screenshot from a film by Open Space
Gwen North Reiss, a writer and poet who has been involved with The Glass House as an educator and historian since 2008, talks about the history and architecture of the famous building designed by Philip Johnson in 1949, in a ten-minute film made by Open Space.
Readers of World-Architects will no doubt be familiar with The Glass House, not only for the fame of the building and its architect, but because we occasionally feature the house and the larger 47-acre estate in New Canaan, Connecticut, that it is part of. We visited in 2016, for instance, when The Glass House was covered in bright red polka dots courtesy of artist Yayoi Kusama. Two years earlier, artist Fujiko Nakaya shrouded the iconic building in a veil of mist. Other articles, specifically in our Film series, looked at how The Glass House was a setting for electronic music; showed the building supporting a surprise aerial walk by Philippe Petit; and took viewers inside the lesser-known library on the estate.
Needless to say, since the property has been run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation starting in 2007, two years after the death of Johnson and his longtime partner David Whitney, it has been anything but a static house-museum. Currently, the grounds of the estate are the setting for stone sculptures by stone carver Mark Mennin.
In the ten-minute film by Open Space, Gwen North Reiss speaks about the history and architecture of Johnson and The Glass House, but also about the work of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and what people might feel when visiting the house, which is open for tours from mid-April to mid-December.
The video of Johnson's Glass House brings to our attention Open Space, which was “established in 2019 by Elias Tebache and Mick Aure, both ardent architecture enthusiasts,” per their website. Being from California, the Glass House film is a bit of a departure for them – geographically, but not stylistically, since their other films show a strong preference for modern architecture from the middle of last century. The films the pair has made since 2019 include houses designed byFrank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, Craig Ellwood, Joseph Eichler, A. Quincy Jones, and Cliff May, among others.
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