1. Philip Johnson’s Only Residential Commission in NYC: the Rockefeller Guesthouse, Midtown Manhattan
In the New York City area, Modernist architect Philip Johnson is known for designing the former Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building, the New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
But Johnson designed a little-known private residential building as well, his only one in New York City. The two-story guesthouse was built for Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller III, on 50th Street in Turtle Bay. Completed in 1950, the Rockefeller Guest House is one of Johnson’s earlier commissions. In fact, he did not have his architecture license until afterwards, in the middle of the decade.
The guest house was used primarily as a gallery, as Blanchette was president of The Museum of Modern Art twice. A video of the guesthouse by the New York Times conveys the sense of peace and quiet offered by this house in bustling Midtown, combining Johnson’s interest in allowing nature to seep into his designed spaces with an early experimentation into the creation of visual flow between demarcated spaces. This concept would later achieve its ultimate manifestation in the Glass House, which has no walls, but manages to have a sense of separate spatial areas, which he called “rooms.”
With contribution by the previous work of Untapped reporters: michelle young, samantha sokol, benjamin waldman,
For more on quirky New York City cocktails check out 10 of Manhattan’s Best Hidden Underground Bars & Lounges or on the cuisine side, the Top 10 Hidden Restaurants in New York City. Get in touch with the author: @Erika_A_Stark.