• Architecture icon fades into the mist this summer

    2014-07-30

    This year marks the 65th anniversary of Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. To celebrate the occasion, the structure will play host to its first site-specific art installation, according to its official website. The Glass House has long held exhibitions, but Fujiko Nakaya's "Veil" will be the first to actually engage with the house itself, shrouding it in mist for 10 minutes every hour.

    Disappearing house
    Johnson's Glass House is one continuous room, with subtle divisions, such as cabinets and bookshelves, delineating space for sleeping, eating and cooking. The tiny house, just 32 feet by 52 feet, is entirely exposed to the outside, because of its floor-to-ceiling windows on every outer wall and the lack of any interior dividers. Only the bathroom and a small fireplace are shielded from visitors' view. According to ArchDaily, the house is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture, and it was declared a national landmark in 1997. Johnson lived at the house until his death in 2005, and two years later the site was opened to the public. The house is a popular United States travel destination for fans of architecture and design.

    Veil
    For years, visitors have been able to tour the grounds and enjoy the Glass House as well as the rest of Johnson's 14 buildings at the site. However, this summer will offer guests a unique experience thanks to Nakaya's exhibit. To create her work, Nakaya installed 600 nozzles around the house, which activate once per hour to briefly cover the transparent structure with fog. In 1970, Nakaya made her first fog sculpture - also the first in the world - in Osaka, Japan, Dezeen Magazine reported.

    Nakaya's sculptures have been created around the world, but the Glass House's director, Henry Urbach, told the source that Johnson's building is uniquely served by the work. The Glass House is deliberately designed to deprive its occupants of privacy and to disappear into its environment, thanks to its transparency. Nakaya's work will both subvert and enhance Johnson's intentions. When the house is covered in its veil of fog, it will in fact disappear from the landscape, but at the same time it will offer privacy from prying eyes for the first time in its history.

    Visitors to the Glass House can take a tour either on their own or with a guide, and also have the option of touring the entire grounds and on-site art collections. Nakaya's "Veil" will be at the site throughout the summer, closing Nov. 30.

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