philip johnson and the rockefellers

JOHNSON_01

In 1950, Philip Johnson completed a townhome in Midtown Manhattan for the Rockefellers.  The simple mid-century modernist gem has become an icon of the halcyon era, with a black steel frame filled with a blind brick first floor and large floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows above, and an open floor plan hiding an exterior courtyard and reflecting pond, with a bedroom suite beyond.

Like most things I enjoy, I’ve re-drawn the project, but on a strict nine-square module and outfitted with a more traditional aesthetic.  The brick, not the steel frame, becomes the driving tectonic, with columns in place of sliding plate doors at the courtyard, which itself is centered on a fountain rather than floating around one.  The rear bedroom suite is more glorified with a full gable where the hip roof of the main house is tucked behind shallow brick parapets.  The front elevation remains rather blind, but trades a single french balcony window for the trio of floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

TOWNHOME_01

TOWNHOME_02

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