In his eightieth year, Philip Johnson has given the adage “architecture is an old man’s game” a new dimension. For what other architect of his generation can match Johnson’s recent exploits? Having started late (he did not finish his architecture degree at Harvard until he was thirty-seven), Johnson is now making up for it with a vengeance. In old age he has taken on a new role—one might say the new role—as masterbuilder for some of the nation’s principal real-estate interests; and in the process he has created a new genre of revivalist architecture, with a series of skyscrapers in an astonishing variety of historical styles.

Most of our major American cities have felt the impact of one of Johnson’s lavish office-tower designs, or soon will. The list is staggering. Chicago’s Loop is about to have a gable-roofed “Rootesque” tower on La Salle Street....

 
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