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 art gallery, and garage. The new homeowner, an art collector, emphasised his desire to respect the architectural integrity of the property-to carefully integrate any 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 minimised by inserting them into the hillside. The minimalist art gallery was constructed on the foundation of a 19th century barn and designed with a traditional gabled roof form. Its solid black massing creates a contemporary backdrop for Johnson's transparent house. All new exterior and restoration materials were reviewed and selected on site to harmonise with the existing residence.
The new barn accommodates the owner's contemporary art collection, while a portion of the lower level remains the central mechanical plant for the site. Facades are clad with vertical wood siding painted black. The interior is designed to be bright, simple, and clean, acting as backdrop for the art. All lighting is adjustable to best emphasise the art; ventilation is provided by linear diffusers integrated into reveals at the gable ends.
Locating the new pool house was challenging, because it needed to work with the pre-existing relationships of barn, pool, and 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 that set by the barn foundation walls and the base of the Wiley residence.