The house that Philip Johnson reportedly called “more Mies than Mies” was built by Anderson Todd for himself and his family in 1961. The house was featured in Architectural Record in March, 1964 in an article called “An Open Plan for a Family Home.” In the article, Todd, at the time an Architecture Professor at nearby Rice University stated that “the design of this house was the outgrowth of an intensive investigation of what constituted a family house. Out of this concept grew the recognition of the opposing problems of a desire for privacy and, yet, the desire for openness and freedom, and a balance between formality and informality. Next came the need for servantless operation and low maintenance, and the needs for the safety of a young family. A fire-resistant structure was set as a goal.”
From the street, the house appears to be an ivy covered wall. The front door is on the side of the house, now protected by an iron gate. Entering the house, one walks into a gray-green terrazzo floored Miesian building complete with beautiful Barcelona chairs and a table. Taking cues directly from the Farnsworth house, Todd employs a wood paneled (walnut instead of primavera), mechanical core in the center of the house. Bordering the core on one side is the kitchen and on the other side is the fireplace. Within the core are the air-conditioners, the washer, dryer, freezer and extra storage.
The end result is a 3800 square ft. steel, brick and glass house built for less than $20 per square ft. that made the Todd family so happy that they still own it more than 45 years later.
Text and Photo by Jason Smith
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