"To be in the presence of a great work of architecture is such a satisfaction that you can go hungry for days. To create a feeling such as mine in Chartres Cathedral when I was 13 is the aim of architecture."
Philip Johnson didn't begin formal study of architecture until he was 34 years old, but he had already made an impact as the first director of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and as co-author of The International Style, the book that gave a name to the movement that dominated world architecture for the next 50 years.
Not content to be the foremost American publicist of the movement, Johnson soon became its foremost American practitioner. Throughout the 1950s and '60s, Johnson delighted some and outraged others with sleek modern designs like those of his celebrated Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, the Seagram's Building (a collaboration with his mentor, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) in New York, and the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
In his 70s, with a long, successful career behind him, Johnson shocked critics and colleagues alike by a sudden shift to the new "postmodern" style associated with a far younger group of architects. Johnson's design for the AT&T headquarters in New York City is one of the most celebrated works of the new school.
When he was young, Philip Johnson dreamed of writing the history of architecture, and so he did, but who dreamed that he would make so much of that history himself?