Philip Johnson helped bring modernism to the United States. As the first director of the Museum of Modern Art’s department of architecture and design, he co-curated MoMA’s seminal 1932 exhibition on the International Style.
His own work as an architect, including the Seagram Building designed with Mies van der Rohe, and the Glass House, his own residence in New Canaan, Connecticut, helped to establish the new architecture, while his later work helped move the style on to post-modernism and deconstructivism.
This interview, one of a series conducted by architectural publisher John Peter, was recorded over several sessions between 1955 and 1961.
In this excerpt, Johnson explains his choice of the three greatest modernist works. He argued that with modernism providing the foundation for a new golden age of architecture, it was time to push at the boundaries of the new style.