Last summer, OHNY  traveled upstate to Dutchess County, New York for a rare opportunity to visit and tour John M. Johansen’s private residence. Long admired for his intricate concrete forms like the U.S. Embassy in Dublin (1963) and Oklahoma City’s Mummers Theater (1970), Johansen has blazed a highly original trail over a career spanning more than a half-century.

The only surviving member of the New Canaan–based Harvard 5 (with Eliot Noyes, Breuer, Landis Gore, and Philip Johnson), Johansen is also known for designing some of the most unique private houses on the East Coast. One of them, his own country house—a truncated and translucent fiberglass pyramid in Dutchess County—was sold last year and Johansen moved out this past fall.


Originally built by the architect in 1975, and dubbed ‘A Plastic Tent,’ the house is made of translucent corrugated fiberglass. Protecting against rain and wind, the fiberglass also allows for light to enter the space, giving it a warm glow.


Johansen took us on a tour of the space, including the cave-like bedroom, with stone walls, that also extends into the bathroom and adjoining hand-made hot tub, an early “jacuzzi” of sorts. Johansen spoke about his inspirations and ideas, as well as earlier work. OHNY helped the architect celebrate his 93rd birthday with family and colleagues last June, allowing everyone to experience his home as he designed and built it.


1 Comment to Field Trip Friday: John Johansen’s Home

  1. May 17, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you very much for this article. It very interesting.

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