Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to architect John Johansen

While studying architecture at Texas Tech University, John Johansen visited our campus and shared his design philosophy with us. I was a wide eyed pup that hung on his every word. What an impression he made on me!

John Johansen was a contemporary with my mentor I.M. Pei. Along wit Mr. Pei, Mr. Johansen was one of Walter Gropius' (pioneer of the modern architecture movement) first pupils at Harvard.

During his lectures at Texas Tech, I remember Mr. Johansen showing photos of his current work (at the time) that included the Oklahoma City's Mummer Theater. It was finished in 1970. He chose to expose all of the air ducts, pipes, and beams. To accent those exposed items, he chose generic paint that would express their presence even more. Colors were chosen like red for the hot water line, blue for the cold water lines and so on. He boasted that the selection of colors was from the Sears catalogue so it would be easy for his clients to match while patching up the place in the future.

John Johansen turned 93 and there was a big celebration of his birthday in New York City. Here is a link that will tell more about him

You can also hear more about him on my podcast at