Because an architectural oeuvre is a strange thing, Glass House architect Philip Johnson's includes a relentlessly arched Dallas mansion, designed in the early '60s for construction magnate Henry C. Beck and his then-wife, Patty. In a 2010 tribute to the home after a renovation by Dallas architectural firm Bodron+Fruit, The New York Times called it "almost campy," and perhaps the most "strangely fascinating" thing Johnson ever designed. Later this week, according to the Dallas Morning News, this odd one-off will list for $27.5M.
The home is essentially a 12,000-square-foot luxury version of the lake pavilion Johnson designed for his New Canaan masterpiece. Patty sold it in the early 2000s, after divorcing from her husband, back when it was looking a bit worse for wear, to Naomi Aberly and Larry Lebowitz, who undertook a renovation that lasted from 2002 to 2008.
The renovation, done with the knowledge that keeping architecturally significant homes "too pure" is the surest way too guarantee they won't survive, revamped and refinished the entire thing, with whole sections gutted and reconfigured. A neutral interior color scheme was kept to follow "the tone set by Johnson's travertine floors and walnut paneling," while steel and bronze balustrades similar to the ones he used in NYC's Four Seasons Restaurant were added to the twin grand staircases in the entryway. Massachusetts firm of Reed Hilderbrand was brought in to completely re-landscape the 6.45 acres it sits on, while a new pool pavilion that recalls Johnson more obviously modernist work (where the glass curtain walls aren't hidden behind a columned facade) replaced one that "had literally become a ruin, with trees growing up through it."
By the end of their work, the renovation architects "fell prey to its outsize charms and managed to make what could have been monumental and chilly into something that is as comfortable as it is glamorous," according to the Times, which seems to ring pretty true, and is certainly better than the recent fate of another Johnson-designed oddity. Will a buyer fall as well, for almost $30M?
· Architect Philip Johnson's only Dallas house listed for $27.5 million; Obama visited twice [Dallas News]
· Arch Sophisticate [NYT]
· Everybody Say Goodbye to This Unwanted Philip Johnson House [Curbed National]
· All Philip Johnson coverage [Curbed National]
· All Dallas coverage [Curbed National]