Man of the ‘House’

Through a sometimes rocky half-century relationship with Houston, architect Philip Johnson designed the city’s most famously restrained modern mansion and its most imposing Reagan Era skyscrapers. A new book details how an erudite New Yorker made an indelible mark deep in the heart of Texas.

Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson, the late icon of modern and postmodern architecture whose many feats include New York’s Lipstick Building, gave Houston its design pedigree. He contributed such buildings as Williams Tower and the University of Saint Thomas’ Chapel of Saint Basil. Now, in an exhaustively detailed new biography — The Man in the Glass House, whose title references Johnson’s famous home and masterwork in Connecticut — author Mark Lamster traces Johnson’s rise, and how Houston luminaries such as Gerald Hines became his most important patrons. 

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Drawing Conclusions

In beautiful new books, architecture firms tout different visions for a fast-changing Houston — living in classic style, and working with modern vitality.

There are few things in life more gratifying than owning an impressive, well-curated collection of glossy coffee-table books. But as any proper coffee-table book connoisseur knows, owning a large collection means you have to make frequent, challenging curatorial decisions of your own as to which books in your collection get top-stack status. Does the Dior top Chanel, or does Annie Leibovitz go below Helmut Newton? Well, it might be best to just go local! There are two new coffee-table books from disparate Houston architecture firms, each promoting their respective contributions to the city. And they both deserve top-stack status — just on different stacks.

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