Philip Johnson

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Johnson in 2002

Philip Johnson (July 8, 1906January 25, 2005) was an American architect.



  • At the basis of the Hiterlism mystique is the notion of "race." ... If ... we overlook the terminology that Hitler inherits from Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain—and that has become so repugnant to Americans because it has been made to appear primarily anti-Semitic—we shall find a different picture from what we had been led to expect by reading excerpts from the more lurid German "anthropologists." Reduced to plain terms, Hitler's "racism" is a perfectly simple though far-reaching idea. It is the myth of "we the best," which we find, more or less fully developed, in all vigorous cultures.
  • [T]he German green uniforms made the place look gay and happy. There were not many Jews to be seen. We saw Warsaw burn and Modlin being bombed. It was a stirring spectacle.
    • From a letter to an American woman (1939) later convicted of being a German agent, as cited in Martin Filler "Prince of the City", The New York Review of Books (December 22, 1994)


  • The painters have every advantage over us today...Besides being able to tear up their failures—we never can seem to grow ivy fast enough—their materials cost them nothing. They have no committees of laymen telling them what to do. They have no deadlines, no budgets. We are all sickeningly familiar with the final cuts to our plans at the last moment. Why not take out the landscaping, the retaining walls, the colonnades? The building would be just as useful and much cheaper. True, an architect leads a hard life—for an artist.
    • Cited in Paul Heyer (ed., 1966). Architects on Architecture: New Directions in America, p. 279. New York: Walker and Company.
  • I like Houston. It's the last great 19th-century city. Houston has a spirit about it that is truly American, an optimism. People there aren't afraid to try something new.
    • Financial Times (June 3, 1989)
  • [It] was the stupidest thing I ever did. I never forgave myself and I never can atone for it. There's nothing you can do.
  • [T]he anti-Semitism, I was in on, and that's the part I'm really ashamed of.


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