The work of Philip
Johnson (1906-2005) is a jumpy guidebook to 75 years of architectural trends. Chasing or pioneering the nouveau,
it runs the gamut from his minimalist cube house in the Connecticut woods to Dutch gable roofs to a decidedly
post-modern Chippendale-topped office tower in Manhattan.
Despite his iconic leanings his basic instinct
was to design from the inside out-- to organize interior space. He once said he wanted to build "the greatest room in the
world." He got his chance in Garden Grove, California with a commission from evangelist Robert Schuller to design a huge glass
cathedral. With the help of seismic engineers and his partner John Burgee the job was completed and doors opened in 1980.
The mega-church is a mirror-glazed
envelope with a footprint of nearly an acre of land. In his mind the Crystal Cathedral was his crowining