Betsy Speicher

John Lautner Exhibit

28 posts in this topic

As you may know, I consider the architect, John Lautner, to have been the real Howard Roark who surpassed even his master Frank Lloyd Wright. The first major exhibition of Lautner's work, "Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner,"will be presented from July 13 to Oct. 12, 2008 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and then will travel abroad.

In the past week, a syndicated article about Lautner, his work, and the exhibit appeared in newspapers around the country (here). I was contacted by the author of the article who mentions me and quotes from the tribute to Lautner on my web site (here).

f_artsleis20071217-1ap.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although it isn't the same as being inside his buildings, I'm looking forward to the exhibit. Thanks for the news, Betsty -- and congrats on getting mentioned so well in the article!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point in my life, I can only imagine how rewarding it would be to live in one of John Lautner's homes. But, I can afford to see the exhibit. Thanks for mentioning it Betsy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At this point in my life, I can only imagine how rewarding it would be to live in one of John Lautner's homes. But, I can afford to see the exhibit. Thanks for mentioning it Betsy.

There is a Lautner you might be able to afford -- especially if you get together with three other interested parties. Lautner's 4-unit Desert Hot Springs Motel, recently renovated and completely furnished, is currently on the market for $495,000. (here)

dhs3.jpg

Lautner%20Motel%20Living%20room.jpg

Lautner%20Motel%20outdoor.jpg

dhs8.jpg

dhs6.jpg

orangewhite.jpg

LautnerMotelRm2-07small.JPG

dhs1small.jpg

kitchen.jpg

lightinterior.jpg

For more information about the motel, click here.

Considering that a Lautner recently sold for $33.5 million, what a deal!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In today's (4/10/08) Los Angeles Times there are articles about John Lautner and the upcoming exhibit.

The main article is "John Lautner's Spirit of Invention" (here) illustrated with a photo of his Elrod House in Palm Springs.

37640157.jpg

The article is accompanied by a Photo Gallery (here) with twelve beautiful pictures including two of the Pearlman Mountain Cabin

37598552.jpg

37598579.jpg

In addition, there is also "John Lautner's building timeline" (here), and a story about the restauration of Lautner's 1950's Harpel House (here) accompanied by a photo Gallery of ten pictures (here).

37514592.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had never heard of John Lautner.

But you just made my millenium!! :rolleyes:

I have been so happy to contemplate Wright, that I hadn't even considered looking into the career's of his students.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Ye've left a glimmer still to cheer

the Man--The Artifex

That holds, in spite o' knocks and scale,

o' friction, waste, an' slip

And by that light--Now mark my word--

we'll build the perfect ship."

from M'Andrew's Hymn by Rudyard Kipling

These words were engraved high in the loft of Wright's studio on Chicago Avenue, and seeing Lautner's work, I have no doubt that Wright graced Taliesin West with their memory as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is a wonderful 8 1/2 minute video about Lautner, his life, his ideas, and his buildings here.

I remember feeling this same awe as a 10 year old when I was at the '64 World's Fair in NYC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

15 or 20 years ago the Society Architectural Historians organized a one day tour of between 5 and 10 of Lautner's Los Angeles work. The owners allowed the tour inside the buildings.

One part the tour was viewing a movie of between 30 and 60 minutes of Lautner's work. It was produced by B.E.E. productions in Los Angeles. I highly recommend it if you like Lautner's work.

Tour members could also purchase a large, beatifully photographed book of Lautner's work titled "John Lautner, Architect." The author is Frank Escher; the publisher is Artemis. It has 2 ISBN numbers 1-874056-65-X (London) and 3-7608-8096-7 (Zurich). I also recommend this if you like Lautner's work.

But neither can compare to standing in the actual spaces. For only the second time in my life I had my hair stand on end while viewing a work of art: inside the Sheats home. What genius it took to create some of these spaces!!

The only things I whose style I questioned were the tiny little rooms in the Bergen house and some of the massive reinforced concrete roofs on some of the later homes. If I recall correctly, one of the Silverlake roofs was 30 tons!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 or 20 years ago the Society Architectural Historians organized a one day tour of between 5 and 10 of Lautner's Los Angeles work. The owners allowed the tour inside the buildings.

There have been several Lautner tours over the years including one led by Karen Bergenthal about two years ago that included the Sheats-Goldstein house, the Harvey Aluminum house, the Stevens house in Malibu, and Silvertop in Silverlake. This year Karen will lead another tour of Lautner homes in conjunction with the Lautner Exhibit on July 18, 2008. Details will be posted here.

One part the tour was viewing a movie of between 30 and 60 minutes of Lautner's work. It was produced by B.E.E. productions in Los Angeles. I highly recommend it if you like Lautner's work.

Was it this one? If so, there may still be a few VHS copies of it left at the John Lautner Foundation web site for $30 plus shipping (here).

Tour members could also purchase a large, beautifully photographed book of Lautner's work titled "John Lautner, Architect." The author is Frank Escher; the publisher is Artemis. It has 2 ISBN numbers 1-874056-65-X (London) and 3-7608-8096-7 (Zurich). I also recommend this if you like Lautner's work.

I hope you bought one -- I own several -- because they are very hard to come by. Right now Amazon only has two: One in good condition for $420 and another in very good condition for $449.79 (here). A very good option is Lautner, 1911-1994: Disappearing Space by Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange that includes almost all of Lautner's buildings with wonderful photos and floorplans for only $9.99 new (here).

But neither can compare to standing in the actual spaces. For only the second time in my life I had my hair stand on end while viewing a work of art: inside the Sheats home. What genius it took to create some of these spaces!!

The Sheats house is my very favorite building in the world. Wright's Fallingwater is #2.

The only things I whose style I questioned were the tiny little rooms in the Bergen house and some of the massive reinforced concrete roofs on some of the later homes. If I recall correctly, one of the Silverlake roofs was 30 tons!

Silvertop made it through two major earthquakes and my late husband Stephen, who had his masters in structural mechanics, considered Lautner's roofs and support systems ingenious and well-engineered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^^^^^^

Yes, Betsy, the video was "the Spirit in Architecture."

Yes, I have one of the books. To someone who doesn't, all I can say is that knowing what I know now, I'd pay the $400+ for one if that's what it took. These were the first "real" structures that looked to me like something Roark would have done. To me, $400 would be worth it to be able to view these over and over at my leisure.

Alas, no, I still don't like the massive roofs. (As I recall, not all of the concrete roofs were massive. I liked the lighter, isogrid stiffened ones.) As i I don't doubt that such roofs can be correctly designed. And I can see why pouring a liquid is a neat way to get his sweeping shapes. But I'm an airplane guy, trained to design stiff, lighweight structures in which people sometimes care about grams. (LOLOLOLOLOLOL Stop, stop, stop - don't break out the logical waaaaaambulance saying "but these are roofs not airplanes." LOLOLOLOL) So all that mass just seems like more that what is required.

Thanks for the tip on the upcoming tour!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll even pay to go see things I've already seen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dec 1983/Jan 1984 Fine Homebuilding (No.18) has a feature entitled Lautner's Mauer House, an early work somewhat in the Usonian tradition. I saw notice of the show in Dwell. Living in Michigan, I'll have to be content with a catalog. Thanks for all the other resources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Infinite Space is the new feature-length documentary on John Lautner by filmmaker Murray Grigor. It will first be screened (a sneak preview) in September in the Billy Wilder theater in the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The website for the movie is now online and includes the trailer for the film at http://www.infinitespacethemovie.com. (The trailer is 5 1/2 megs and takes a few minutes before it starts to play.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a piece in the NY Times today. Is the catalog worth buying? It's as close as I'll get. THX.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is a piece in the NY Times today.

The article is here and with it there is a slideshow here.

Is the catalog worth buying? It's as close as I'll get. THX.

It's so-so. This is a much better book:

51LlgzQb+NL._.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found out about John Lautner and...

I have previously found it difficult to see the real artwork in architecture. Sure, I have appreciated Frank Lloyd Wright's work; perhaps not in every aspect but definitely the integrity of his buildings. However, the emotional response has not been very different from other forms of art. And when it comes to many other architects it seems that's they way they treat their work, like paintings or sculptures. I often find such buildings beautiful to look at and they do bring a smile to my face but, that's also it.

When I look at John Lautner's houses it's entierly different. My first reaction was that I wanted to scream "YES!" followed by a "OH MY....!". I have never seen anything like it, and I have never felt such a way about any work of art before. These buildings are made by commanding nature for the purpose of sheltering man, and not just any type of shelter for any type of man. It's like these buildings are for the greatest and most heroic of men, and they are meant to lift them even higher.

Anyway... I don't know what to say except thanks - this is the most inspiring art I have ever seen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Sunday, September 7, 2008, there will be a segment on John Lautner on the CBS News Sunday Morning Show.

This is the announcement from the program's web page:

DESIGN: Architect John Lautner

The architect John Lautner was considered generations ahead of his time when he designed his mid-20th Century modern homes. Now, Lautner’s time has come, with renewed interest and a refurbished reputation. If a Lautner home seems familiar, it’s because you’ve likely seen it in the movies. They’ve been used in such films as "Diamonds Are Forever," "Lethal Weapon II" and "Charlie’s Angels." Correspondent Bill Whitaker looks at the life of the man Frank Lloyd Wright called the second greatest architect in the world, and at a new exhibit dedicated to Lautner’s work at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Links:

Hammer Museum

John Lautner Foundation

Check your local program listings for time and channel. You may also be able to see it after the broadcast on the Sunday Morning video page here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a video of John Lautner's Arango House in Acapulco featuring the voices of Lautner and Senor Arango, the owner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lautner's 4-unit Desert Hot Springs Motel, recently renovated and completely furnished, is currently on the market for $495,000. (here)

The Lautner Motel was sold and someone got a real deal. Here's a video of what they got.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites