Mark Lamster | Essays

Philip Johnson’s “Lost” Archive


Yes, there's an archive of Johnson material for sale. Was it unknown? The Times seems to think so, but just about anyone who knows anything about Johnson was aware of it and that it was in the possession of Raj Ahuja, a former partner who had won it in a judicial settlement with John Burgee, another partner. (This is a long story not to be recounted here, but suffice to say it made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, so was hardly a secret.)

It should, in any event, prove enlightening on the years of Johnson's association with Burgee, when his practice developed into a commercial juggernaut. Like Bob Stern, I hope it all stays together, and in a public collection. For the record, the drawing above is an early version of the Boston Public Library addition. The project was in the office for nearly a decade. Here, the division of the facade into thirds has already been established. The massing, however, evolved from this fairly Miesian conception into the more monumental, Kahn-like structure we know today. It's also a fair representation of Johnson's typical drafting style.

Posted in: Architecture

Jobs | July 13