The weekend of July 23/24 offered modernist fans some special events in Los Angeles to commemorate the 100th birthday of architect John Lautner (1911–1994). Sponsored by the MAK Center, and The John Lautner Foundation, the weekend highlight was a tour of the following four houses designed by Lautner between 1947 and 1982:
Sheats/Goldstein House (1963/1989)
This house is a Lautner masterwork, with dramatic spaces throughout. In particular, the living room and pool area are stunning—featuring a huge concrete triangle shaped roof that frames the spectacular view. The multi leveled house is situated on a steep hillside covered with lush landscaping.
Schwimmer House (1982)
Designed later in Lautner’s career, the visual motif is curves upon curves, and dramatic use of stone and wood. The effect is like a modernist castle. The main living space is not as awe inspiring as those of other large scale Lautner residential designs, but the house has a unique character and an overall dynamic aesthetic.
Harpel House (1956)
Positioned on a hill near Mulholland Drive, this single story sprawling house is more modest in its design than the Sheats/Goldstein or Schwimmer houses. Because of this, the spaces are easier to comprehend and enjoy immediately. The exterior areas are quite important to this residence. Beautiful desert style gardens in the entryway complement the minimal architecture, while the focal point of the back yard is the gorgeous pool setting with views of the San Fernando Valley and beyond.
Jacobsen House (1947)
Designed early in Lautner’s career, the geometry of the house is clearly influenced by Lautner’s training with Frank Lloyd Wright. The steel framing structure was, and still is, unique to residential building. This was the last house on the Saturday tour and the smallest in scale. The house, including a recent renovation performed with sensitivity, is a real delight. No space is wasted, and as with all Lautner houses, the interior and exterior designs are beautifully cohesive.
Below are photos of the MAK Center/R.M. Schindler House, and three really cool modern LA residences I discovered while driving around town.