Johnson, Philip

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Johnson, Philip Gender: M
Philip Cortelyou Johnson
born on 8 July 1906 at 15:00 (= 3:00 PM )
Place Cleveland, Ohio, 41n30, 81w42
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 15°45' s_mo.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 21°34 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 24°03'

Philip Johnson
photo: B. Pietro Filardo, Original uploader was Bpfilardo at en.wik, license gfdl


American architect, described as the greatest living architect in the world. Considering his list of architectural achievements – corporate skyscrapers, performing arts centers, houses, cathedrals, malls, museums, university buildings and gardens – he is certainly one of the Twentieth Century’s most influential, famous and celebrated exemplars of his field.

Before becoming one of architecture’s most potent forces, Johnson was a client, critic, author, historian, and museum director. He majored in philosophy at Harvard, 1927 where he earned his A.B. in architectural history in 1930. Upon graduation he became the first director of the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) Dept of Architecture, 1932-34, returning to that post again in 1946-54. In between, Johnson became the co-founder of what he coined the "international style." Ushering in a new generation of glass towers, the post-war architects of this school followed a philosophy that people felt more secure behind glass walls and thus more connected with their environment.

He had returned to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1940, receiving a B. Arch in 1943 and practicing in Cambridge, MA, until 1946. While back at MoMA, he designed a residence for himself in Connecticut in 1949 for his Masters degree thesis. This is his famous Glass House, a see-through frame structure that was the first of its type in America. He still lives in this home, one that has became a blueprint for Modern architecture. However, he would eventually become critical of the movement he pioneered – dubbing so-called Modern architecture and exemplified by his own home, as "too old and icy and flat."

With his mentor, Mies Van Der Rohe, he worked on New York’s Seagram Building, 1958, that has been called America’s finest high-rise building. He worked with Richard Foster from 1964 to 1967, and then with John Burgee. His design for New York’s AT&T building, 1982– the notorious "Chippendale skyscraper" - gave Post-Modernism commercial viability during the 1980s. The

top of the building resembles a Chippendale cabinet and was declared a landmark in the history of Post-Modern architecture. His PPG Building in Pittsburgh, 1984, is a mirrored skyscraper with Cathedral-like turrets at top.

Semi-retired since 1989, one of Johnson’s most recent works is the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas. At age 91, he designed this, the first cathedral of the new millennium, which will be inhabited by the largest gay and lesbian church in the world. Johnson has said that the Cathedral of Hope "will be the most exciting sanctuary in Christendom … the thing by which I will be immortalized."

While Johnson is widely known and respected for his work in the early 1950s (while under the influence of Mies Van Der Rohe), because of his chameleon-like design approach he has been criticized for showing more interest in style than substance. During his career he has changed his architectural principles from Modernist to Post-Modernist to anti-Post Modernist. His work has been described as brilliant and breathtaking but also as gimmicky and uninspired. Some detractors say that he simply redesigns or combines the visions of others, but few would deny that he has been a pivotal force behind upcoming architects. As such he may well be remembered more as an intelligent and articulate ideas man than as a designer. His contribution to landscaping is less controversial and broadly acknowledged. His Sculpture Garden at MoMA is one of his most renowned landscapes.

Witty, wealthy and well-connected, Johnson has remained one of the most powerful figures in his profession’s cultural politics - he was once called "the Godfather of architecture." He received the Pritzker Architecture prize in 1979.

For his 90th birthday Johnson was honored by MoMA with an exhibition: "From Bauhaus to Pop: Masterworks Given by Philip Johnson." Known for the round Le Corbusier-style spectacles he has worn since about 1950, Johnson is reportedly a candid, unpretentious, astute, and entertaining raconteur. During his time at Harvard in the 1920s, he had a nervous breakdown for three to four years while coming to terms with being gay. Since 1960 his companion has been David Whitney.

The architect died on 25 January 2005 at age 98 at the compound surrounding his famous Glass House that he designed as his own residence in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Albers, Anni (born 12 June 1899)
  • associate relationship with Walker, John (born 24 December 1906)


  • Social : End a program of study 1927 (Graduated from Harvard)
  • Social : End a program of study 1930 (Earned A.B. in architectural history)
  • Work : New Career 1932 (Director of MoMA Dept. of Architecture,)
  • Social : Begin a program of study 1940 (Harvard School of Design)
  • Social : End a program of study 1943 (Received B. Architecture)
  • Social : End a program of study 1946 (Practiced in Cambridge)
  • Work : End Major Project 1949 (Designed his own residence)
  • Health : Change in Appearance 1950 (Started wearing spectacles)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1958 (New Yorks Seagram Building)
  • Relationship : Begin significant relationship 1960 (David Whitney)
  • Work : Contracts, agreements 1964 (Worked with Richard Foster, three years)
  • Work : Prize 1979 (Pritzker Architecture Prize)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1982 (Chippendale Skyscraper)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1984 (PPG Building)
  • Work : Retired 1989 (Semi-retired)
  • Death, Cause unspecified 25 January 2005 (age 98 in New Canaan, CT)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

B.C. in hand, LMR in collaboration with Sy Scholfield.


  • Traits : Personality : Articulate
  • Traits : Personality : Humorous, Witty
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Nervous Breakdown (Three to four years)
  • Family : Relationship : Cohabitation more than 3 yrs (Since 1960)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex (David Whitney)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Mentor/Tutor (Mies Van Der Rohe)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Gay
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (98 years)
  • Vocation : Art : Art critic
  • Vocation : Building Trades : Architect/ Planner
  • Vocation : Entertain/Business : Director (Museum)
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction (Historian)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession