Local Organizations and COVID-19: The Glass House

For today’s Q&A with a local business or organization, we talked to Greg Sages, executive director of The Glass House, which has its Visitors Center on Elm Street. In past years, the 49-acre Ponus Ridge site laid out with Philip Johnson-designed buildings has opened May 1, and this year the organization won approval from the Planning & Zoning Commission to open April 16. With the restrictions in place due to coronavirus disease, The Glass House has been unable to open and, like other qualified organizations and businesses, is looking toward Gov. Ned Lamont’s planned May 20 date. Here’s our exchange. New Canaanite: How are you operating now and what is your plan?

‘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.