'Philip Johnson is unarguably the most influential and best-known American architect working at the close of this century', in the opinion of Frank Welch. For six decades he has been a leading advocate of European-inspired modernist architecture, patron of the Museum of Modern Art, and habitue of elite East Coast cultural circles. Yet his most distinguished large buildings are all in Texas. In this book, Frank Welch draws on interviews with Johnson, his colleagues, and patrons to discover why Johnson has done his best work in the Lone Star State.
He opens with an overview of Johnson's formation as an architect, leading up to his pivotal meeting with Dominique and John de Menil, who chose him to build their house in Houston in the late 1940s.Welch chronicles Johnson's long association with the de Menils and other wealthy Texans and the many commissions this produced, including the University of St. Thomas and Pennzoil Place in Houston, the Kennedy Memorial, Thanksgiving Square, and the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, the Amon Carter Museum and the Water Garden in Fort Worth, and the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi.
This history of Johnson's work in Texas reveals how the architect's bold, outspoken personality attracted Texas clients and how their referrals shaped his career.It also demonstrates how Johnson's advocacy of architecture-as-art has affected the cultural climate of Texas cities. Perhaps most of all, it records Johnson's ongoing love affair with the state that made him its favorite 'out-of-town' architect. As he recently quipped during a slow time in his New York office, 'I should have moved there; it's the only place I have any work!' Frank D. Welch, FAIA, is principal of the award-winning architectural firm Frank Welch and Associates of Dallas.