Living in Glass Houses

You know what they say about people in glass houses…

In this video RISD president John Maeda narrates a visit to Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT. Maeda shares his impressions and talks about how it relates to his thoughts on simplicity. Meanwhile, we explore the site (there are actually several buildings on the property in addition to the Glass House), shot over a couple picture perfect spring days.


The Glass Pavilion is a redefining structure within modernism. It is a benchmark building that sets the bar as to what modernism is and can be. Set within a 3.5 acre estate of oak groves in Montecito and boasting 15,000 square feet under roof, this home is impressive beyond words. An almost entirely glass home, it allows the occupants to be comfortably inside while completely enveloped within nature. As you drive down the long gated driveway, the home slowly comes into view. You are immediately confronted with a large all glass home floating above gently rolling lawns. The site of it is awe-inspiring. Architect Steve Hermann calls this glass-walled home in Montecito, Calif. his ‘opus.’



One of the most iconic homes of the Case Study program, CSH #22 was also one of the most radical and innovative in design and construction. Pierre Koenig’s reductive plan and specs for the home were influenced by its location high up in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. The steel framework held 20-foot wide modules of glass, which allowed for sweeping views of the city below from both private and public areas of the home. The L-shaped interior surrounds the swimming pool and outdoor terraces and a concrete footbridge over the pool connects the entrance to the carport. The two wings of the home are separated into public and private. The bedrooms along with a dressing room and master bath occupy one wing, while the living room and dining area sit in the opposite wing with the kitchen and utility core at the corner. A freestanding steel fireplace dominates the living room and dining area, and can be seen from the open kitchen.

The house is 2600 square feet + 1500 square car port and covered area.

Original owners: Mr. & Mrs. C.H. Stahl

Landscape & Pool: Pierre Keonig, architect.

Structural engineer: William Porush

General Contractor: Robert J. Brady

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