"Why can't people learn to live in the pure glass prisms of Mies van der Rohe? No, they need a place for Junior to practice piano while mother plays bridge with her neighbors." So said architect Philip Johnson, who saw a need to reconcile Modernism and modern life and attempted such a rapprochement with the Wiley House, a pair of elegant glass-encased stone-and-wood boxes built in New Caanan, Connecticut, in 1953. When the president of an energy trading firm and art enthusiast picked up the historic property in 1994, he found the rational floorpan imminently livable, but inevitably too small for his collection of contemporary British art. The owner found himself needing to add an art gallery to a work of art. Enter Roger Ferris + Partners, who designed an addition for the property a few years ago that complemented Johnson's masterful, site-specific design.
Johnson actually had his own ideas, initially proposing a series clustered, multi-colored glass domes, Byzantine-esque in summer shades of red, orange, and yellow that would light up during sunset. Roger Ferris + Partners' award-winning addition stuck with a more restrained solution. A new concrete garage and stone pool house, as well as a barn-turned-art gallery, added 4,620 square feet of new space, complimenting the rectangular forms of the original home while playing with the same subdued material palette. With an addition the constantly evolving Johnson would appreciate, the house still has a spot for Junior, but now, there's also wall space for the latest modern masterpiece.