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he Patricia and Henry C. Beck, Jr. House in Dallas, designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1964, is Johnson’s least-known work. Acquired by new owners in 2002, the house was rehabilitated in 2009 by Bodron+Fruit of Dallas, and the grounds were renovated by Massachusetts-based landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand in 2010. Apparently, the only documentation of the house was recorded by Frank D. Welch in his tome “Philip Johnson & Texas,” which included a plan, rich black-and-white photos taken by Paul Hester, and insights into the Becks’ (and Dallas’) cultural milieu as only Welch can provide. The reason for Johnson’s silence can only be surmised, as he did not usually shy from publicity. Welch tells us that Patty Beck started planning a house with San Francisco-based architect Gardner Dailey, who developed a floor plan to her liking. “But he never came up with what we were looking for as far as the outside was concerned,” she told Welch in 1996. Several referrals

directed her to Johnson. Welch noted that for the Becks, Johnson magnified the scale of the arches at his Lake Pavilion in New Canaan and created a two-tiered system, which he adroitly draped over Dailey’s scheme like a slipcover. was a design based on precast concrete arch-and-column modules that Johnson used on a number of projects in what biographer Franz Schulze coined as the architect’s “ballet classicist” phase: the Lake Pavilion (New Canaan, 1962); Asia House proposal (New York, 1959); Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (Lincoln, NE, 1963); and the similar Amon Carter Museum (Fort Worth, 1961). Schulze notes that the molded concrete columns are concave-diamond-shaped in section, with an ever-so-subtle inverse entasis (117-ft radius), and topped by elliptical arches. This period may be seen as a stage in Johnson’s shift from Miesian structuralism to postmodern historicism — a modernized classicist interlude. The arch system

5/6 2013

Texas Architect 55

Texas Architect May/June 2013: Preservation  

This issue on historic preservation illustrates themany facets of the field, including restoration,rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse.

Texas Architect May/June 2013: Preservation  

This issue on historic preservation illustrates themany facets of the field, including restoration,rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse.