Segments in this Video

Today on "Camera Three" (04:00)


Watch clips of Philip Johnson, a leading American architect, speaking over a period of several years. Johnson explains the first rule of architecture is to "get the job." He has designed office buildings, museums, a glass cathedral, and water fountains. (Credits)

Biography of Johnson (02:41)

As a young man, Johnson traveled and founded the department of architecture at the "Museum of Modern Art" in New York City. In collaboration with Henry Russell Hitchcock, Johnson wrote "The International Style." In his 30s, Johnson returned to school and studied architecture.

On Success (02:34)

Johnson is pleased with how he became one of the leading architects of the century with his partner John Burgee and contends that they have done some of their best work in the past decade. The architect's greatest failure is a building that he designed intellectually but made no impression on the cityscape.

Working with Developers (02:12)

Johnson explains the best real estate developers collect architects. George Cline mentions frequently that he works with Kevin Roach, Eddie Barnes, and Helen Yan. Johnson describes how corner windows thwart basic principles of architecture, but developers now insist upon it.

AT&T Building (03:30)

AT&T sent out a questionnaire to hundreds of firms to narrow down their search for the building's architect. Even though Johnson refused to fill it out or present any materials to them, the company still hired him for the job. New York City asked for shops on the entry level, but Johnson decided to create outdoor seating for its employees instead.

Glass House (04:39)

Mies van der Rohe inspired Johnson to build the residence, but Johnson made alterations because he wanted to live on the ground and feel contained. Johnson believes that each building he creates is different and there is no great style in modern architecture. Photography and motion pictures do not appreciate space.

IDS Center and the Pennzoil Building (03:00)

For the IDS Center Johnson and Burgee designed a glass mall that was light and airy which experts compare to the Piazza San Marco. The Pennzoil Building contained two trapezoidal towers separated by ten feet. Developers initially scoffed at the idea of selling office space with one wall that was 45 degrees, but businesses loved the individuality.

Republic Bank Tower (03:50)

Johnson wanted to incorporate stone and gables into his design. Attached to the tower, the architect designed another building as a traditional banking room. The design firm also created the Transco tower, located on the outskirts of Houston, Texas.

Friendship with Hines (02:41)

Johnson persuaded Hines to develop the complex, which includes three towers that stand 45 degrees apart from each other. The architect recalls when Hines called him and complained about a building's facade. The improved design became the facade of an ellipsoidal building in New York City.

Times Square Plaza (05:14)

Johnson explains he gets jobs not through presentations but by looking clients in the eye, being sincere, and working hard. The design firm describes its plans to remodel Times Square. Initially, Johnson criticized large skyscrapers but now thinks that they are necessary because people want to live close to each other.

Buildings on Johnson's Property (02:26)

Explore the lake pavilion, which was built as an architectural exercise. Johnson and Bernier climb up and down the Lincoln Kirstein Tower.

Sculpture Gallery (04:05)

Johnson wanted to play with stairs and space. Architecture is a combination of intimacy and grandeur and must contain complexity; individuals should feel at peace in the center of a room. The sculpture gallery contains artwork from George Segal and Mark Di Suvero.

Painting Gallery (03:33)

Johnson believes that one should study only six paintings at a time. The walls in the gallery move so that other paintings can be viewed. Most of the paintings are from the 1960s and Johnson donated most because he feels it is foolish to keep his collection private.

Affiliation with MOMA (04:35)

Johnson believes that the recent renovation of MOMA improves the sculpture garden he designed. The architect commends the aesthetic of Alfred Barr but criticizes William Rubin's tenure as director. The museum recently invited Johnson to design and show pieces from his private collection.

Designing Museums (05:13)

Johnson designed the Amon Carter Museum, the Art Museum of Corpus Christi, and the Water Garden. Architecture is an art form and a practical profession. Pennzoil Place was a successful design and brought in under budget.

Credits: Philip Johnson: His Life and Work (00:35)

Credits: Philip Johnson: His Life and Work

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Philip Johnson: His Life and Work

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Philip Johnson, leading American architect, interviewed by art critic and lecturer Rosamond Bernier. Filmed over a period of ten years, Johnson was 70 years of age (1976) at the time of the last interview. Illustrated with filmed tours of many examples of his work.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL128504

ISBN: 978-1-64023-336-2

Copyright date: ©1976

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.