Completed in 1970, Philip Johnson designed the Sculpture Gallery to house his growing sculpture collection. Inspired, in part, by the Greek islands and their many villages marked by stairways. Johnson remarked that in these villages, “every street is a staircase to somewhere.” The building’s plan comprises a series of squares set at 45-degree angles to each other. Staircases spiral down past a series of bays, which contain sculptures in the following visual sequence: Michael Heizer, Robert Rauschenberg, George Segal, John Chamberlain, Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman, Robert Morris, and Andrew Lord.
A tubular steel skeleton from which a cold cathode lighting system is suspended supports the building’s aluminum and glass skylight. Sunny conditions reveal an extremely complex pattern of light and shadow in the building’s interior five levels. The structure so pleased Johnson that he seriously considered moving his residence from the Glass House to the Sculpture Gallery. However, he did not, stating, “Where would I have put the sculpture?”
The complete restoration of the Sculpture Gallery began on May 6 and will take approximately ten months to complete. The project architect is Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects and the prime contractor is Nicholson & Galloway, Inc.
The scope of the project includes the removal and replacement of a complete skylight roof system of glass set in anodized aluminum extrusions; the preparation and painting of structural steel; the replacement of a cold-cathode lighting system and refurbishment of electric heat units. An optional scope includes sub-grade waterproofing, and inspection and museum-quality painting of interior and exterior walls of the brick structure.
Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® continues their ongoing commitment to architecture and the arts with their support of the restoration of the Sculpture Gallery, one of 14 structures of The Glass House, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This project marks the largest and most complex preservation project at The Glass House to date and is the latest in a long-standing partnership between Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® and The Glass House.