7. How Philip Johnson Felt About Having a Ruin

Observation Towers at the New York State Pavilion

Shortly before Philip Johnson passed away, artist and photographer Phil Buehler got to speak with him about what it was like to have a building that is a ruin. In a video by Unforgotten Films from 2019, Buehler remembers that Johnson told him, “It’s neat but it’s not much of a ruin because there’s no ivy on the columns.” Buehler took it upon himself to make Johnson’s vision of a true ruin a reality.

Buehler planted ivy at the park which slowly snaked its way up the columns that ring Johnson’s Tent of Tomorrow. In the video, Buehler states that the ivy grew up to around fifty feet on four of the columns. Buehler’s photographs of the pavilion along with archival images were displayed in 2016 at the City Reliquary’s Life Of An American Ruin: Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion exhibit.