Philip Johnson, widely regarded as the dean of American architecture and one of its most recognisable architectural celebrities, died last week at the age of 98.
Johnson died at his famous Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he lived with his partner of 40 years David Whitney.
As well as designing his own work, Johnson was a curator, critic, and teacher who influenced and cultivated the careers of many of today’s major architects. Some have argued that his lasting influence will be primarily as a tastemaker.
Architect Daniel Libeskind, the master planner for the World Trade Centre site, described Johnson this week as a towering force who defined the art and practice of architecture in the 20th century.
In the 20s the architect was famous for promoting the minimalist glass box skyscraper but went on to deliver clever post-modern pastiche such as the New York AT&T building in the 70s and 80s.
He had a powerful flirtation with Nazism throughout the 1930s when he travelled widely throughout Germany and wrote admiringly of Hitler.
Late in life he said there was no excuse [for] such utter, unbelievable stupidity.
Although he was known to be gay by friends and colleagues -“ he joked about the four Mrs Johnsons -“ he did not publicly come out until the mid-90s when he authorised a tell-all biography.
Johnson’s final design was the Cathedral of Hope for the 1,000-plus Dallas-based gay and lesbian congregation.
He called it the design opportunity of a lifetime and produced a startling design that rises, like an iceberg emerging from the sea, and soars to a crowning peak over the altar.
It is expected to cost $40 million and construction of the first stage is to begin this year.