Philip Johnson

A new look at the architecture of John Yeon, unsung master of Pacific Northwest modernism

A new look at the architecture of John Yeon, unsung master of Pacific Northwest modernism

The course of American architecture in the 20th century can be traced by following the line that divides Philip Johnson’s career from John Yeon’s.

Both men were born early in the century in cities far from New York glamour: Johnson in 1906 in Cleveland, Yeon four years later in Portland, Ore. Both came from money. Both were gay. Both educated themselves as much by traveling and making the right social connections as by sitting in classrooms.

But as Johnson gravitated to Manhattan, where he became the founding director of the architecture and design department at the Museum of Modern Art before launching his own practice, Yeon put down roots in Oregon. Johnson looked to...

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