Johnson began his initial plans. He submitted a watercolor rendering of the home’s exterior and presented his clients with his proposed model. Upon further discussion, the Kreegers approved the final design. In March 1965, they broke ground to begin building.
During the home’s planning and construction, a great deal of speculation stirred among neighbors and those who traveled down Foxhall Road. Gwen Dobson of the Evening Star described it this way:
The curiosity is understandable because the aura of the structure is indeed ambivalent. Is it a museum to be lived in now, or a home that will eventually become a museum?
David Kreeger and Philip Johnson were two distinctly different personalities socially and politically, and yet they bonded around their mutual appreciation of art and the shared belief that architecture is experienced through the sensation of physical movement. Johnson’s philosophy of procession—experiencing the space one moved through and how it felt entering the next one—expresses the comfort a visitor feels while moving from one gallery to another through a vast space. This ease of movement while viewing and reflecting on the art on display is easily experienced in the Kreeger Museum. Obviously, that feeling also appealed to David and Carmen.
The following vignette from an article written by Cleveland Amory for the May 1964 issue of Vogue magazine offers a unique portrayal of Johnson:
Philip Johnson is that rarity, an architect who designs his buildings like a sculpture, who uses sculpture as part of his buildings, who starts off each venture—art gallery, house, theater, synagogue, church, office building—with a soaring theorem, its principles not new, but its conclusions daring. . . . He is a quick minded, clipped talker, a dasher rather than a contemplative when the work is rushing along. An architect who does some of his most courageous efforts for private clients, he prefers to work with scale models. That house, deliberately built for a great art collection, has three main characteristics: it is of travertine, it has cross-vaulted domes, and it has the proper vistas.
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