Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Architecture of John Lautner

A recent NPR article highlights the work of modern architect John Lautner one hundred years after his birth. Starting from the construction of a lakeside family home in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and a stint in Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin School, Lautner went on to design some of Los Angeles' most distinctive and recognizable homes. While I had most certainly seen some of Lautner's work prior to this article (you probably have too), I hadn't known much about the man himself and some of his lesser-known works.

Image via.
While much of his work presents an appearance of space-age, many of the designs are really rooted in the primitive, with cave-like spaces, and an intense, ever-present connection to the outdoors. Looking at his projects, many are ethereally peaceful spaces, safe and comfortable, apart from but tied to the wider world. The horizon always has a presence in Lautner's houses, and few are able to frame a great view as well as he does. This is architecture bordering on the sublime.

I spent some time this morning reading and listening about Lautner and think I'm better for it. I especially enjoyed a half hour discussion with the curator of a 2008 exhibit on Lautner's work, along with some great photos of the Sheats-Goldstein House (above), Judith Lautner's Picasa collection with images of many projects, and the thorough website of the John Launter Foundation.

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