The Wiley residence in New Canaan, Connecticut, designed by Philip Johnson in 1952–53, was purchased with the intention of restoring the residence and adding a new pool house, private gallery, and garage. The architect emphasized respecting the integrity of the property by carefully integrating new structures into the site so that they complement and defer to the original house. The concrete volumes of the pool house and garage were minimized by inserting them into the hillside. All new exterior and restoration materials were reviewed and selected on site to harmonize with the existing residence. The minimalist art gallery was constructed on the foundation of a 19th-century barn and designed with a traditional gabled roof form (a portion of the lower level houses the site’s central mechanical plant). The Gallery’s solid black massing creates a contemporary backdrop for Johnson’s transparent house.The interior is designed to be bright, simple, and clean, acting as backdrop for the art. All lighting is adjustable to best emphasize the art; ventilation is provided by linear diffusers integrated into nearly invisible reveals at the gable ends.
Locating the new pool house was challenging: it required consideration of the preexisting relationships of barn, pool, landscaping, and house. The design aligns the submerged pool house with an existing retaining wall: pool, pool house, barn, and residence form a new nucleus for the site. Acting as gatehouse, a new garage marks the entrance to the estate. The height of the new pool house and the garage follows the height set by the barn foundation walls and the base of the Wiley residence.