The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century

The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century

by Mark Lamster


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A "smoothly written and fair-minded" (Wall Street Journal) biography of architect Philip Johnson — a finalist for the National Book Critic's Circle Award.

When Philip Johnson died in 2005 at the age of 98, he was still one of the most recognizable and influential figures on the American cultural landscape. The first recipient of the Pritzker Prize and MoMA's founding architectural curator, Johnson made his mark as one of America's leading architects with his famous Glass House in New Caanan, CT, and his controversial AT&T Building in NYC, among many others in nearly every city in the country — but his most natural role was as a consummate power broker and shaper of public opinion.

Johnson introduced European modernism — the sleek, glass-and-steel architecture that now dominates our cities — to America, and mentored generations of architects, designers, and artists to follow. He defined the era of "starchitecture" with its flamboyant buildings and celebrity designers who esteemed aesthetics and style above all other concerns. But Johnson was also a man of deep paradoxes: he was a Nazi sympathizer, a designer of synagogues, an enfant terrible into his old age, a populist, and a snob. His clients ranged from the Rockefellers to televangelists to Donald Trump.

Award-winning architectural critic and biographer Mark Lamster's The Man in the Glass House lifts the veil on Johnson's controversial and endlessly contradictory life to tell the story of a charming yet deeply flawed man. A rollercoaster tale of the perils of wealth, privilege, and ambition, this book probes the dynamics of American culture that made him so powerful, and tells the story of the built environment in modern America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316126434
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 617,002
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News, a professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington, and a 2017 Loeb Fellow of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Table of Contents

Prologue xi

Chapter 1 The Master's Joy 3

Chapter 2 From Saul to Paul 21

Chapter 3 A Man of Style 51

Chapter 4 Show Time 79

Chapter 5 The Maestro 105

Chapter 6 The Gold Dust Twins 131

Chapter 7 An American Führer 155

Chapter 8 Pops 181

Chapter 9 A New New Beginning 203

Chapter 10 An Apostate at Worship 239

Chapter 11 Crutches 261

Chapter 12 Cocktails on the Terrace 285

Chapter 13 Third City 311

Chapter 14 Towers and Power 337

Chapter 15 The Head of the Circle 369

Chapter 16 Things Fall Apart 399

Chapter 17 The Irresistible Allure of the Fantastic 425

Epilogue 447

Acknowledgments 455

Notes 459

Index 491

What People are Saying About This

Author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life - Ruth Franklin

“Philip Johnson’s Glass House is exposed to the elements, but the life of its creator abounds in shadow. Mark Lamster thoughtfully teases out the real history of this modernist icon, from his impressive sexual appetites and more-than-flirtation with fascism in Hitler’s Germany to his 1990s collaboration with Donald Trump. It’s clear that Johnson was a fascinating and disturbing figure; Lamster’s biography, impressively and honestly, displays him with his full complexity.”

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