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Johansen was born in New York City where he attended the John Dewey School before transferring to the Choate School in Wallingford CT. He attended Harvard graduating in 1939. He continued at Harvard, studying under Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, earning a master's degree in architecture in 1942. He worked for Breuer briefly before joining the Fuller Construction Company building Navy barracks. From 1946-1949 he worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill on the UN Headquarters. He set up his own firm in 1948 and taught at Pratt and Yale. Johansen became known as one of the Harvard Five, a group which included Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, and Eliot Noyes. In 1981, he married Beate (Ati) Gropius, daughter of Walter Gropius. Most of his records and archives burned in a fire. Video.

1949 - The Daniel F. and Elizabeth Langenwalter House, 222 Juniper Drive, Schenectady NY. Sold in 1951 to Ralph W. and Dorothy A. Bengtson. Rear wing added in 1957 by Eric Fisher.


1950 - The David Wood House, Schenectady NY. Status unknown.

1950 - The Almy D. and Anne B. Coggeshall House, 414 Oakridge Drive, Schenectady NY. Garage added around 1960. Sold in 2003 to Teri J. Evenden. Sold in 2008 to Donald S. and Teri E. Trischett.

1950 - The Gordon Barlow House, 154 Indian Rock Road, New Canaan CT. Several additions over the years, including a 1971 project by Zane Yost. Sold in 1979 to Stephen and Jane Raye. Johansen eventually distanced himself from the house due to incompatible renovations. Sold in 1989 to Richard and Marianne G. Thomas. Still in the Thomas family as of 2010.

1950 - The John Johansen House, aka Upside-Down House, 966 Ponus Ridge Road, New Canaan CT. The bedrooms were on the lower level, living space on the upper. Featured in McCall's Magazine, June 1952. Destroyed in the late 1990s and a new house built on the site in 1999.

Bottom photo is a 1955 house at 9449 North Regent Court, Bayside WI, based on Johansen’s design and built by architect Donald Grieb.

1950 - The Theodore Waddell House, 6 Yankee Hill Road, Westport CT. 2652 sf. Sold around 1985 to Allan P. Cramer, still owner as of 2021.

1950 - The Peter and Patricia Dunham House, 103 Woods End Road, New Canaan CT. Featured in House and Home, June 1952. The contractor was Theodore deF. Hobbs. Destroyed and a new house built in 2005.

1952 - The Paschall and Betsy D. Campbell House, 701 Laurel Road, New Canaan CT. Campbell was also the landscape architect. The contractor was Theodore deF. Hobbs. Featured in House & Home, August 1956. Sold in 1966 to architect Alan E. and Gertrude Goldberg who created a basically new Modernist house largely eliminating the Johansen design, bottom photo.

1953 - The John F. Dickinson House, 559 West Road, New Canaan CT. Built by Thomas DeF. Hobbs. Destroyed in the middle of the night in 2000 and a new house built in 2001. Photo of house with preservationist Richard Bergmann by Alan Mitchell.

1953 - The Mackarness Goode House, aka Cave House, 49 Arrowhead Trail, New Canaan CT. Destroyed in the early 1990s.

1953 - The Camille H. and Mary R. Huvelle House, 66 Beecher Lane, Litchfield CT. The neighboring Stillmans sold half of the acreage to their friends the Huvelles who hired Johansen. Featured in Architectural Record, November 1954. Sold in 2011 by the Huvelle Trust to Ken Sena and Joseph Mezzaferro, who also own Marcel Breuer's Stillman House at 63 Beecher Lane. They restored both houses, winning a 2014 DOCOMOMO Citation of Merit. Sold in 2014 to Thomas Mendanhall. Sold in 2017 to Stillman Trust.

1955 - aka the Spray Houses, two houses of sprayed concrete, Gunite, over a steel frame structure. House #1, top two photos, was never built. House #2, second photo, was built in Zagreb, Yugoslavia for the 1956 Trade Fair. Fetured in Architectural Forum, October 1959.

1955 - The Alice McNiff Summer House, 60 Mahkeenac Road, Stockbridge MA. Featured in Architectural Record, February 1956. Sold in 1996 to Henry and Marlene Nunberg who completed a major reconstruction and addition in 1998. Sold in 2003 to the Albert Cimini Trust/One Swell Foop. Sold in 2013 to W. Eric and Margot T. Egan. For sale in 2019.

1955 - The John S. and Margaret Stillman House, 72 Maple Road, Cornwall-On-Hudson NY. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1956. Deeded to Amelia Stillman. B/W photos by Joseph Molitor.

1956 - The Rawleigh and Mary Ann Warner, Jr., House, aka Bridge House, aka Villa Ponte, 93 Louises Lane, New Canaan CT. Built by Wenzel; lighting by Richard Kelly; landscape architect James Fanning. B/W photos by Robert Damora.  Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1958; the New York Times; House and Home; and Architectural Digest. In 1962, the courtyard was enclosed into a bedroom. In 1970, they added a pool and garage/poolhouse, designed by Johansen, with living space above the garage added in 1993. Remained in the Warner family until 1999. Sold in 2009 to Douglas C. Wurth, who hired architect Theo Singuenza for a restoration and renovation.

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1956 - The Goodyear House, 5 Settlers Trail, Darien CT.  The Goodyears also commissioned a house in Santa Fe NM, unbuilt. Sold in 2013 to Casey and Meghan Shanley.


1958 - The Roe House, Greenwich CT.  Status unknown.


1959 - The Durst House, Mt. Kisco NY. Status unknown.

1960 - The Fred J. and Mary Frances (Fran) Otnes House, 26 Chalburn Road, Redding CT. Otnes was a collage artist. Johansen originally planned this house for another client, but they rejected it. Featured in the Hartford Courant, 11/3/1974.  Addition of a studio. Sold in 2015 to James and Shalala Nancy Weatherill.  Glass and kitchen renovated. For sale in 2020.


1960s - The Robert Schwarzenbach House, Valley Road, Wilson Point, South Norwalk CT. Has been altered.


1963 - The Simon House, Bedford NY. Unbuilt.


1964 - The DePiolenc House, Greens Farms CT. Status unknown, likely unbuilt.

1964 - The Florence Virtue Housing, City of New Haven Housing Authority, 139-142 Goffe Street, New Haven CT. Multi-story apartment homes for moderate income housing.  According to the Historic Resources Inventory Report, the roof profiles were altered by addition of gable framing and asphalt shingle roofing.

1964 - The Howard C. Taylor, Jr. House, aka Labyrinth House, Beachside Avenue, Greens Farms, Westport CT.  Commissioned 1963.  Destroyed in 1988 by talk show host Phil Donahue, who owned the house next door at 114 and bought the property for more privacy. The house had been empty for several years and was attracting vagrants, Donahue said. "Why didn't someone take care of this building?  Where were all these caring people when the building was unoccupied?"  Good points.

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1966 - The L. Chase and Alice M. Ritts, Jr. House, aka Telephone Pole House, 10 Rapids Lane, Greenwich CT. To brace the house into the hillside, Johansen used 150 telephone poles 40 feet in length. Featured in GA Houses 3; Progressive Architecture, September 1968, and Life Magazine, February 2, 1968. Sold in 1999 to L. Kevin Dann. Destroyed, new house built in 2002.

1968 - The Frank W. and Lisina M. Hoch Addition, 39 Matthiessen Park North, Irvington NY. Commissioned 1967.  House originally built in 1958, architect needs verification. Two-story rear addition in 2013 by Tilly Architects.


1969 - Twin Parks Housing Project, NYC Housing Authority.


1970 - The John Guest Beach House, Fishers Island NY.  Status unknown.

1971 - The Gustavus A. D. Pope House, aka the Tube House, 36 Taconic, Salisbury CT. Featured in GA Houses 3; Architectural Record Houses of 1978. Designed with Ashok Bhavnani; built by A. and L. Zavagnin; engineering by Besier and Gibble. Sold in 2004 to Helen Scoville. Status unknown; may be significantly altered. 

1971 - The Foster House, 20 Dryden Road, Bernardsville NJ. Designed with Ashok Bhavnani. Video. Sold in 2012. Destroyed. Lot for sale in 2019.



1974 - The John Johansen House #2, aka Tent House, aka Rigged House, Stanfordville NY. Substantially built by Johansen. Structural engineers, KBNA/B; mechanical, Williame Dunne; interiors, Beate Gropius Johansen. Destroyed by fire later in 1974. Rebuilt in 1975. Sold in 2009 to Alan Orenbuch and Bryan O'Rourke, who did a restoration and turned an old shed into a Modernist guesthouse, bottom photo.


Around 1974 - The Robert Schwarzenbach Vacation House, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico. Compound of 3 small casas.  Status unknown.

1976 - The Rivercross Apartments, 531 Main Street, New York NY. Designed with Ashok Bhavnani. Became a 365-unit cooperative.

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1976 - The Island House Apartments, 555 Main Street, New York NY. Designed with Ashok Bhavnani.

1976 - The Duncan and Sally Ellsworth House, aka Greenhouse House, 50 Selleck Hill Road, Salisbury CT. Built by Gilligan Brothers; structural engineer, John Altieri. Featured in GA Houses 3; Architectural Record Houses of 1976. B/W photo, Norman McGrath.

1979 - The Richard Barna House, 11 Pine Ridge Road, Bedford NY. Johansen designed a guest house in 1983. Sold in 1996 to Pascal George. Sold in 2014 to Jon Snyder. Sold in 2020 to Paul Sahre and Emily Oberman.


1981 - The Port Jefferson Condo-Marina, Port Jefferson, Long Island NY. Likely unbuilt.

Year Unknown. The Floating House, unbuilt.


Year unknown - The Alvah Sulloway House. Status unknown.


Year unknown - The Dixwell Avenue Housing Project, New Haven CT. Status unknown.

Sources include: Researcher Catherine Westergaard Cramer, Architectural Record Houses of 1978; The Harvard Five by Bill Earls; 2009 New Canaan Survey.