October 14, 2005
Less than a year after the death of Modernist
standard-bearer Philip Johnson, his final residential project
is now rising in New York City. Ground was broken in August
for the 12-story Urban Glass House, a condominium project
designed by Johnson and his partner Alan Ritchie of Philip
Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, along with Annabelle Selldorf
of Selldorf Architects, and SLCE Architects. The project is
located at 330 Spring Street in Lower Manhattan, just a block
away from the Hudson River.
The project is based on Johnson's 1949 Glass House in New
Canaan, Connecticut. The urban version will be grander and
more sophisticated, featuring what the designers have dubbed
"Modernist luxury." That luxury will be packaged
and sold as 40 light, airy, and spacious condos, ranging from
1,400 to 4,300 square feet.
As with the original Glass House, Johnson and Ritchie's building
will be a simple and elegant cultivation of glass and steel
in a mostly boxy form, updated to fit the demands of well-heeled
urbanites. Selldorf, who took over the interior design from
Johnson last year, heeded his philosophy of simple and smooth
interiors. She says she has followed the Glass House's "clarity
of space" and wide-open rooms with "plentiful light
"But," Selldorf explains, "whereas modernism
has been criticized for its rigidity, we've created homes
where we've anticipated the needs of the residents and made
comfort a priority." Floors will be made from French
white oak in herringbone patterns, as in the original Glass
House. Some surfaces will feature black Absolut granite or
green Indian limestone, a material Selldorf describes as "beautiful,
uncommon and tactile."
The project is slated for completion in late-summer 2006,
in time to mark the 100th anniversary of Johnson's birth date.