Cooper-Hewitt Youth Programs students were in for an exciting excursion when they ventured outside the city to nearby New Canaan, Connecticut. They visited Philip Johnson’s Glass House and received a two-hour tour of the extensive campus. The iconic architect designed his own private residence in 1949, adding experimental single-use structures throughout his property over the course of the next forty-five years. The high-school students knew they were in for an incredible experience when they got their first glimpse of the magnificent location Philip Johnson cultivated about sixty years ago.

The 1,700-square-foot architectural masterpiece features four glass exterior walls, providing a seamless view of the surrounding landscape. The living room, kitchen, and bedroom are arranged in an open layout within the home, giving the inhabitant and visitor an unrestricted experience. The students familiarized themselves with the concepts of an open floor plan and using the environmental elements to regulate indoor temperature.

After we finished touring the Glass House, we got a private view of Johnson’s sculpture and painting galleries and personal study — each located in an independent building designed by the architect. The students’ encounter with architectural history left them contemplating the possibilities that lie in their future.

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