“A Philip Johnson Glass House”
Built in the late 1940s, the Philip Johnson Glass House, now a museum and listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, has been the design star of New Canaan, Connecticut and put the town firmly on the map of outstanding architectural history. Though Johnson built the Glass House as his personal residence, he built another house nearby called the Alice Ball house where he later decided to live and use the Glass House strictly for entertaining. In 2015, architect Reja Bakh purchased Johnson’s more livable Alice Ball House on 2.2 acres for $2.3 million and has designed a new residence which will combine the historical home within a compound which will be visually complementary to both homes. He is now selling the Alice Ball House along with plans for the new home showcasing a sleek contemporary in its renderings for $7.7 million.
Johnson, who died in 2005, was one of the famed Harvard Five which included Johnson, John Johansen, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores and Eliot Noyes. With all the exuberance of youth and filled with new ideas, the group settled in New Canaan and, along with other modern notables such as Frank Lloyd Wright, brought architectural style from the frilly, gingerbread, overdesigned and overstuffed Victorian into the sharp-edged, clean-line, minimalist style. Instead of homes that emphasized privacy, the new modern was open to the outdoors, views and patios with visually vanishing thresholds.
Though Johnson intended to live in his glass house, by 1953 he realized that he actually did need a modicum of privacy and built the Alice Ball house. Bakh, with his admiration for the forerunners of the modern style, purchased the Alice Ball house as a weekend retreat. After staying there and mulling how to optimize the property to its fullest, he painstakingly drew up a plan for a new house that would incorporate the existing Alice Ball design through a series of walls – some connected and some appearing to be free floating. He is now offering his creation to a buyer with a similar appreciation of modern architectural history.
As drawn with renderings, the incorporation of the new and old structures would provide a large open living area, three bedrooms which number could be customized to family requirements, an indoor pool and spa, a large underground collectible car garage with natural light from skylights and a wine cellar. The 1,500-square-foot Alice Ball House could be repurposed as a gallery.
An opportunity to own a piece of modern architectural history plus owner-architect Reja Bakh’s plans for expansion, renamed ‘The Wall House,’ priced at $7.7 million. Co-listing agents are Toni-Ann Vittoria and Inger Stringfellow of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, New Canaan, Connecticut.