49 Facts About Philip Johnson


Philip Cortelyou Johnson was an American architect best known for his works of modern and postmodern architecture.


In 1930, Johnson became the first director of the architecture department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Philip Johnson was investigated by the FBI, and was eventually cleared for military service.


Philip Johnson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 8,1906, the son of a lawyer, Homer Hosea Philip Johnson, and the former Louisa Osborn Pope, a niece of Alfred Atmore Pope and a first cousin of Theodate Pope Riddle.


Philip Johnson had an older sister, Jeannette, and a younger sister, Theodate.


Philip Johnson was descended from the Jansen family of New Amsterdam, and included among his ancestors the Huguenot Jacques Cortelyou, who laid out the first town plan of New Amsterdam for Peter Stuyvesant.


Philip Johnson grew up in New London, Ohio and attended the Hackley School, in Tarrytown, New York, and then studied as an undergraduate at Harvard University where he focused on learning Greek, philology, history and philosophy, particularly the work of the Pre-Socratic philosophers.


Philip Johnson visited the landmarks of classical and Gothic architecture, and joined Henry-Russell Hitchcock, a prominent architectural historian, who was introducing Americans to the work of Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and other modernists.


Philip Johnson had a substantial fortune, largely stock given to him by his father.


In December 1934, Philip Johnson abruptly left the Museum of Modern Art and began pursuing a career in journalism and politics.


Philip Johnson first became a supporter of Huey Long, the populist governor of Louisiana.


Philip Johnson traveled to Germany and Poland as a correspondent, where he wrote admiringly about the Nazis.


In "Social Justice", Philip Johnson expressed, as The New York Times later reported, "more than passing admiration for Hitler".


In 1941, at the age of 35, Philip Johnson abandoned politics and journalism and enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he studied with Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, who had recently fled from Nazi Germany.


In 1941, Philip Johnson designed and built his first building, a house at 9 Ash Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


In 1942, while still a student of the architecture school, Philip Johnson tried to enlist with Naval Intelligence, and then for a federal job, but was rejected both times.


Philip Johnson was investigated by the FBI for his involvement with the German government, Coughlin and Lawrence Dennis, an American fascist economist, and was cleared for continued military service.


In 1946, after he completed his military service, Philip Johnson returned to the Museum of Modern Art as a curator and writer.


Philip Johnson built a small house, influenced by the work of Mies, in Saaponack, Long Island.


The Glass House is a 56-foot by 32-foot glass rectangle, sited at the edge of a crest on Philip Johnson's estate overlooking a pond.


Philip Johnson continued to add to the Glass House estate during each period of his career.


Philip Johnson added a small pavilion with columns by the lake in 1963, an art gallery set into a hillside in 1965, a postmodern sculpture gallery with a glass roof in 1970; a castle-like library with a rounded tower in 1980; and a concrete block tower dedicated to his friend Lincoln Kirstein, the founder of the New York City Ballet; a chain-link "ghost house" dedicated to Frank Gehry.


Philip Johnson joined Mies van der Rohe as the architect of record for the 39-story Seagram Building.


Philip Johnson was pivotal in steering the commission towards Mies by working with Phyllis Lambert, the daughter of the CEO of Seagram.


Philip Johnson moved back to Chicago and put Johnson fully in charge of construction.


The Philip Johnson Building at Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts after its 2016 renovation.


In 1967, Philip Johnson entered a new phase of his career, founding a partnership with architect John Burgee.


Philip Johnson began to design office building complexes for large corporations.


In 1977, Philip Johnson completed a much quieter garden in Dallas, Thanks-Giving Square It features a non-denominational chapel in a spiral form, a meditation garden and cascading fountains, tucked between buildings in the center of the city.


In 1980, Johnson and Burgee completed a cathedral in a dramatic new style: the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, is a soaring glass megachurch originally built for the Reverend Robert H Schuller.


Burgees was eventually forced to declare bankruptcy, and to retire, while Philip Johnson continued to get commissions.


In 1995, Philip Johnson added a postmodern element to his own residence, the Glass House.


In 1978, Philip Johnson was awarded an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.


In 1991, Philip Johnson received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.


Philip Johnson came out publicly in 1993, and was regarded as "the best-known openly gay architect in America".


In 1934, Philip Johnson began his first serious relationship with Jimmie Daniels, a cabaret singer.


Philip Johnson died in his sleep at his Glass House retreat on January 25,2005, at the age of ninety-eight.


Philip Johnson was among the public figures at the core of the effort to save Olana, the home of Frederic Edwin Church, before it was dedicated a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and subsequently became a New York State Historic Site.


Philip Johnson supported avant-garde movements and young artists often before they became widely known.


Philip Johnson's activities included organizing political rallies for populist Huey Long; funding figures such as the right-wing agitator Joe McWilliams and his "Christian Mobilizers"; and writing for three periodicals, including Charles Coughlin's Social Justice, whose "almost every issue contained articles about the 'Jewish conspiracy' or about destructive economic forces led by figures with Jewish names".


In 1940 Philip Johnson quit journalism and distanced himself from politics.


Philip Johnson was inducted into the US Army in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 12,1943, but controversy continued.


Philip Johnson's name arose again in the so-called "Great Sedition Trial" of 1944 through his former contacts in the 1930s with its main target, the former diplomat and economist Lawrence Dennis, who in the 1930s supported fascist economics as an alternative to capitalism.


Philip Johnson was accused of "close and steady contact" with Dennis in the spring of 1938, and providing financial support towards publishing Dennis's 1940 book The Dynamics of War and Revolution.


Philip Johnson had already testified in 1942 in the government case against another former associate, the German poet and journalist George Sylvester Viereck in 1942.


Philip Johnson discussed his trips to Germany and his infatuation with fascism in a 1996 interview with Charlie Rose.


Architect V Mitch McEwen said that Johnson "innovated white supremacy in architecture," but gave no specific examples.


Philip Johnson is mentioned in the song "Thru These Architect's Eyes" on the album Outside by David Bowie.


Philip Johnson appears in Nathaniel Kahn's My Architect, a 2003 documentary about Kahn's father, Louis Kahn.