Art: Toward a New Slang

On the evidence of his work, John M. Johansen is a restless eccentric among U.S. architects. He seems willing to try anything once. Pecking among the styles, he has, in the past, gone through the routine Miesian curtain-wall phase, made his bow to Italian Baroque in his design for the U.S. embassy in Dublin and constructed a house in Connecticut framed like a ramifying tepee with 150 telephone poles (they were bolted together under the direction of a Norwegian shipwright). He also has designed buildings, like the Mechanic Theater in Baltimore, of an...

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