‘This Is Part of Our Obligation’: Much-Needed Ceiling Replacement Underway at the Glass House

For years, even during Philip Johnson’s life, the southwest corner of the plaster ceiling inside the Glass House has been sagging. It’s been getting progressively worse in recent years—to the point where three of the doors into the iconic structure (there’s one on each face of the house) could not be opened. About three years ago, those in charge of the National Trust for Historic Preservation site oversaw a temporary stabilization in the troubled corner, working with Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Evergreene Architectural Arts. “It sagged about three inches in that corner,” Brendan Tobin, senior buildings & grounds manager at The Glass House said Tuesday afternoon, standing near Johnson’s building on the Ponus Ridge site. “They stabilized it by putting some lag bolts and washers in place so it would not further sag, and they gave us basically three proposals to restore or preserve the ceiling.”

Glass House officials reviewed those proposals (more on them below) and settled on one so that work could start days after the 2017 season ended on Nov.

‘A Huge Amount of Interest’: Philip Johnson Glass House Sees Record-High Visits in September

Anchored by a popular, special installation, the Philip Johnson Glass House in September set a new high-water mark in visits for a single month since opening to the public in 2007. The National Trust for Historic Preservation site welcomed 2,595 visitors to its iconic 49-acre campus on Ponus Ridge last month (by way of shuttles from Elm Street), primarily through tours, according to the nonprofit organization. The figure marks a 111 percent year-over-year increase for visits in the month. It likely had to do with Yayoi Kusama’s “Dots Obsession” installation, which closed last week, while the artist’s “Narcissus Garden” and “Pumpkin” installations will run through Nov. 30, the season’s end, according to Christa Carr, communications director at The Glass House.

‘That Property Is Struggling’: P&Z Chairman Voices Support for Expanded Operations at Philip Johnson Glass House

The Philip Johnson Glass House not only anchors the important Modern architecture of New Canaan, the Ponus Ridge site also has caused the Planning & Zoning Commission fewer problems than have other institutions in residential zones, the group’s chairman said Tuesday night. The National Trust for Historic Preservation site is an “amazing” property and the organization that operates it has been “very, very well behaved” since opening to the public in 2007, John Goodwin said during P&Z’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “I’ve also been watching the management of the Glass House, and I know there’s a concern that this just is another director until the next director comes. But I would say that they finally have a business guy. My apologies to the architects, but sometimes it is good to have a business guy.

Facing Financial Crunch and Neighbors’ Concerns, Philip Johnson Glass House Pursues Expansion of Operations

Officials from the Philip Johnson Glass House said Tuesday night that the three basic ways they make money at the National Trust for Historic Preservation site—donations, tours (and the gift shop) and one annual fundraiser (the Summer Party)—do not generate sufficient funds to preserve and restore their 49-acre campus and the 14 architecturally significant structures on it. The Glass House has an annual operating budget of $2.6 million and significant, heavily regulated capital needs, according to its executive director, Greg Sages—for example, the re-roofing of the site’s painting gallery, dredging of the pond and restoration of the sculpture gallery—have taken about three years to get done and cost some $3 million. With the restrictions built into its special operating permit with the town, the $600,000 raised annually through tours “is just not enough, given the backlog of existing work and future work that will obviously need to occur,” Sages told members of the Planning & Zoning Commission at their regular monthly meeting, held at Town Hall. “Two areas that can fill the gap are donations and site-based revenue,” Sages said. Donations are progressing nicely but “the constraints on site-based activity are keeping us from using site to best advantage,” he told P&Z.