Conversations in Context

When picturing Phillip Johnson’s Glass House, what comes to mind is the skeletal and translucent structure sitting among 47-acres of lush Connecticut landscape. The subtle color of the modernist building is so seamlessly integrated into nature that it recedes to the background and often goes unnoticed. This design decision was the work of master architectural colorists, Donald Kaufman and Taffy Dahl, who rendered the site-specific color palettes for Johnson’s architecture when it was built in 1949.

Hailing from a background in creating ceramics and paintings, Kaufman and Dahl work as a team, providing logical coloring as “frosting on the cake” to architectural masterpieces. In this film released by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the two colorists are invited to share their experience of the Glass House, on-site with the public:

This short film is the latest in the Conversations in Context series, supported by BMW and Design Within Reach, which invites experts in architecture, design, landscape and preservation to speak more about the site’s legacy and inspiration. Each host provides a tour around the Glass House campus and participates in a film, distributed on their website after.

The Glass House will host many more Conversations in Context with various experts including: Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic at the New Yorker; Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the architects behind The American Folk Art Museum and many other buildings for notable academic institutions; Barry Bergdoll, the Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, and other renowned architects and artists. Over several Thursdays, these special guests will host two-hour guided tours of the site, sharing with the group their own personal narratives and inspirations from the Glass House.

Now in its fifth tour season, the Glass House is broadening its range of tours by including special variations, including the popular Plein Air Afternoons, which provides its participants with three hours of unstructured, unguided time to use the campus as inspiration for creating paintings, photography and poetry. Some of the more extensive and focused tours even offer AIA Continuing Education credits.

As the fall season approaches, the changing leaves and comfortable weather provide a serene setting to indulge in the intersection of architecture and nature. A visit to the Glass House becomes an opportune attraction–educational, inspirational and captivating.

Categories: Arts + Culture