11 May 2010
Visit Johnson's First House, May 23, in Bedford, New York
Note that I corrected the date: It's Sunday, May 23
The Damora family, which owns and is trying to sell the first house that Philip Johnson designed on commission, in Bedford, New York, have put together an event to drum up interest: they're holding an open house on Sunday, May 23, from 1 to 5 p.m., and have lined up John Johansen to do a talk and take questions, at 2:30.
Johnson and Johansen, of course, knew each other when they were designing houses in New Canaan, after leaving Harvard. Johnson died in 2005, at age 98; Johansen has got to be nearing 140 by now (that's not actually true -- he'll be 94 next month, although he does sport a Methuselah-like appearance).
If you go, you'll also get a chance to see photos taken by the late Robert Damora, a renowned architectural photographer (that's his photo, above, and you can see more at robertdamora.com). Walter Gropius, in fact, called him "the best photographer of modern architecture in the country." (Johansen is married to Gropius's daughter, coincidentally.)
I called the event an open house but because space is limited, they'd like you to RSVP, to the William Raveis agent who is trying to sell the house: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The house, by the way, is next to the 36-acre Tobias Preserve, a nature preserve that the organization I work for, Westchester Land Trust, owns. There are no trails but if you go to the Damora house you might want to check out the preserve too. -- ta