Administrators at the University of Houston’s College of Architecture
have been informed today (Jan. 26, 2005) that Philip Johnson, one
of the nation’s most recognized architects, and a major contributor
to the Houston skyline, has died. The following information is intended
for use with any materials you are developing. The Johnson’s
interview mentioned in this advisory can be viewed at: http://www.researchchannel.org/program/
PHILIP JOHNSON AND THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
World-renown architect Philip Johnson designed a signature building
on the University of Houston campus in the 1980s that today is home
to the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.
One of the last recorded interviews with Johnson was conducted
by Joe Mashburn, dean of the College of Architecture a few years
ago. Johnson and Mashburn met in the architect’s “glass
house” in Connecticut and talked about life, architecture,
Texas, Houston and his longtime friend Gerald Hines.
Mashburn asked Johnson what role landscape played in his designs.
“You know,” he responded in a raspy voice, “we’re
the luckiest people in the entire world to be connected with the
creation of our environment. A painter can make a pretty picture
and do it on the walls, but goodness, what an architect can do with
the same opportunities.”
Mashburn asked the architect to talk about his “showcase
city,” Houston. “You have said that you saved your best
buildings for Houston. How did your connections to the city begin?”
Johnson said when he landed in Texas, “I just loved it and
I’ve always liked it best because Texas is a place, it’s
more than a state, it’s a state of mind and if I didn’t
live here I’d go to Texas to live.”
The relationship between Johnson and developer Gerald D. Hines
covered a number of decades. Mashburn wanted to know why the two
giants in their fields were so successful in their collaborations.
“Gerry, of course, was a man you’d love anyhow, because
he was so understanding, and he was a kid, too, at the time,”
Johnson said. “It’s hard to realize that people that
are grown up now were kids once. I was awfully young, in fact I
wonder if I wasn’t too young sometimes (when he started out
as an architect).
“But Texas was so welcoming that I just couldn’t help
it. And when he was first starting out, it wasn’t like now,
you know. He’d go on, he was more enthusiastic than I was.
We’d each build a part.”
Mashburn mused that the Johnson-Hines partnership was “a
Johnson agreed. “What a wonderful combination, and it’s
hard to believe that a developer, who is the enemy usually of the
architect, could be quite the opposite. He was an encourager and
a friend and everything was ‘Come on, let’s do it better’
with him, you know.”
The College of Architecture has established and is currently funding
the Philip Johnson Endowment to support the programs of the college.
“The endowment will bring top designers and architects to
the students of the college,” said Mashburn. “It will
also forever honor Philip Johnson for the influential architect
that he was.”
Joe Mashburn, dean of the UH Hines College of Architecture, can
be reached at 713-743-2400 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
For more information about the College of Architecture, visit http://www.arch.uh.edu/home/index.html
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.