written by:
August 13, 2012

For our latest installment of Three Buildings, we turned to Danish designer Søren Rose. His picks for this trio of inspiring buildings mines the great modernist canon while also turning up a pair of rather unexpected buildings. Read on for a proper lesson in architectural history.

Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Photo courtesy of the National Trust.

1 / 3

The Rudolph Tengers Museum houses a collection of the sculptor's work in a building he designed.

2 / 3

Le Corbusier's Villa Le Lac, a small house he did for his parents on Lake Geneva. Photo by Soren Rose.

3 / 3
Three Buildings glasshouse1

Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Photo courtesy of the National Trust.

The Glass House
by Philip Johnson

"Among my favorite architects is Philip Johnson, an associate of Mies van der Rohe in the 1950s. Johnson worked with the modern master on the design of the Seagram Building and it's famed Four Seasons Restaurant. Philip Johnson always inspired me in the way that, architecture aside, he managed to keep a relationship with MoMA throughout his life as a curator. He donated more than 2,000 works of art to the museum including pieces by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg. Part of my Scandinavian upbringing as a minimalist makes me say that Johnson's private residence, the Glass House, is his most notable work."

"A 47-acre property in New Canaan, Connecticut, the Glass house is best understood as a pavilion for viewing the surrounding landscape. It's invisible from the road due to its thin structural beams, and built entirely in glass. Each of the four exterior walls has a door that opens into the surrounding landscape. Mies van der Rohe designed the famous Glass House Daybed specifically for Johnson's house. Philip Johnson lived in the house from 1949 until his death in 2005. It's open to the public today and well worth a visit."

Three Buildings Rudolph

The Rudolph Tengers Museum houses a collection of the sculptor's work in a building he designed.

Rudolph Tegners Museum
by Rudolph Tegners

"The Rudolph Tegners Museum is an hour north of Copenhagen. It's a fabulous space and the surroundings are like entering a fairy tale. When you drive into the property of this wonderful little museum dedicated to showing the works of sculptor and artist Rudolph Tegners, you are surrounded by hills of heather, camel grass, and mysterious trees—the backdrop is very beautiful, a typical Danish landscape with fields of corn and flowers. The Museum was built by Rudolph back in 1938. He was responsible for both the functionality and the aesthetics of the building. The museum is one of the early Danish buildings made largely from concrete. The main structure has 36-foot-tall ceilings and is lit from windows in the ceiling so visitors are not distracted by the immaculate nature surrounding this magical place. As a last note: Rudolph Tegners is actually buried in an oak coffin beneath the floor of the central hall. His wife Elna Tegners was burned after her death and the urn is hidden inside the Apollo statue above Rudolph's grave."

Three Buildings Le Lac

Le Corbusier's Villa Le Lac, a small house he did for his parents on Lake Geneva. Photo by Soren Rose.

Villa le Lac
by Le Corbusier

"At the beginning of the year my studio was commissioned to design a house at Lake Geneva in Switzerland. I have been visiting many houses built along the lake for inspiration and to learn more about the area's tradition and history. This spring I drove down to Corseaux, in Vevey, to see a very small house: Le Corbusier's Petite Maison Coseaux (also called Villa le Lac). The house was built for his mother back in 1924. I had looked at the website, which stated it would be open for visitors,but when I arrived it was closed for construction. Just before getting into the car and returning to the hotel, I changed my mind and jumped the garden wall. Moments later I found myself all alone in this architectural curiosity."

"The house is 64 square meters; it's a simple rectangular concrete structure with a garden terrace, open floor plan, and large windows. But even though it's small, Le Corbusier managed to fit a living room, a bedroom, powder room, small salon that could be converted to a bedroom for guests, vestibule, bathroom, kitchen, and closet into this house. It's the first example of modern architecture by Le Corbusier in Switzerland. The stroke of genius was a wall that he built in front of the lake obstructing the view. He designed a window in the wall, with a table and two benches inside the garden, so his mother could sit and watch the lake while being protected from the sun and wind. Sitting in front of the same window, I imagined what it might have been like, being here almost 90 years ago the day they finished construction. Did mother and son have a cup of the here? Feeling slightly guilty that I was trespassing—but still with a grin on my face—I sat there for a couple of hours in my own architecture history lesson surrounded by the Rhone valley and the Alps in Corseaux and the gorgeous view of the lake. I truly had a magic moment."

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016