The Philip Johnson “Glass House” – A Handcrafted Work Of Modernist Art And Why It’s Important To Historic Preservation In Las Vegas

I’ve been emailing regularly with Martin Skrelunas. He’s the Preservation Manager of the Philip Johnson “Glass House”. The Glass House was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation upon the death of Philip Johnson in 2005.

I won’t even pretend to explain this phenomenal work of Mid Century Modernism as well as it’s explained in the video link above. Turn the sound up loud, and watch it full screen.

Martin started the dialog a few months ago when he paid me one of the finest compliments that I’ve ever received as a result of this blog. He said:

I browse dozens of realestate websites a week to find modern home communities, and this is by far the best. I appreciate your understanding of the homes and descriptions.  Very few people would know how to market an untouched house as you just did!

In another email he said:

I am in New Canaan CT, and am working quite closely with our modern homeowners, and am working with others on a larger initiative to bring modern home communities together.  I see your updates daily through Google Alerts.  Google continuously searches for new items that have “mid century modern” in the text.  Your updates are the most constant.  Strong seconds are for a group that discusses and promotes moderns in the Washington D.C. area and for Palm Springs. Also, I would say that you are the only person that really has a variety of relevant material in addition to listings.

Those are exceedingly kind words, but they mean nothing without the resolve and the dedication that goes into fulfilling them. I’ve been asked many times why I mention mid century modern so often. There’s one good reason.

Most Of The Homes In Vintage, Historic Or Retro Las Vegas Fall Under The Category Of Mid Century Modern

The vast majority of the pre-1970 homes in Las Vegas are Mid Century Modern. I can’t help but to be fighting to preserve the historic and classic neighborhoods of Las Vegas without a total dedication to preserving modernist architecture, and the lifestyle it was designed to promote. .

Modernist architecture required big lots. One of the hallmarks of modernist architecture  is exemplified in the Glass House. Bring the outdoors in, and let the indoors get out. That’s why we find the walls of glass, the clerestory windows, and the use of natural materials. That’s why we cherish our big trees and big yards.

Education about modernism is the most important part of my efforts. I meet a lot of people who are shopping for a home. Whether they buy a home or not, they can’t help but to leave me with at least a new found, or a heightened appreciation  for all the amazing elements of modernism that just can’t be found out in the suburbs. I’m hoping that that appreciation is also realized among my many readers. 

Some of our homes are absolutely terrific, and some of them have been absolutely butchered.  The biggest tragedy, and the one that I want to help to correct is the lack of knowledge among the very owners of the mid century modern homes of Las Vegas. The new breed of mid century modern home buyer is aware of the architectural significance, the advantages of modernism, and appreciate its characteristics. But most of our effort has to be given to educating the current owners.

Just as the National Trust, The Glass House, Atomic Age Alliance, Modernism Magazine, Atomic Ranch Magazine are trying to get the word out, VeryVintageVegas is equally dedicated in our own small way. Won’t you please tell a friend or neighbor or co-worker or relative about us? Will you help to spread the word?

The classic homes of Las Vegas deserve to be preserved, and they deserve to have the recognition that similar homes in Palm Springs, or the Eichlers of California receive.

It’s Historic Preservation Month in Nevada. Dinosaur bones, Indian petroglyph, cowboy lore, neon signs, and Mid Century Modernism all have played a role in Las Vegas and Nevada History. 

At VeryVintageVegas, we celebrate them all.  But especially, we celebrate modernism.