It’s hard to imagine a Los Angeles without the daring modernism of John Lautner. The Michigan-born, Frank Lloyd Wright-trained architect created iconic buildings — such as the visionary Chemosphere Residence (1960) and the panoramic Silvertop Residence (1963-67) — that have helped define the city’s built environment. Futuristic, cinematic, and sexy as hell, Lautner’s designs are the ultimate expressions of mid-century Los Angeles.
Lautner would have been 100 this month, giving Los Angelenos a good excuse to look back on his legacy. A recent LA Times article by Alan Hess offers a fascinating appraisal of Lautner’s work:
The great architects of the greatest cities capture the essential nature of their home, whether that’s Bernini with his fountains and churches in Rome, Christopher Wren with St. Paul’s Cathedral in London or the sensual modernism of Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro. In the long roster of great Los Angeles architects, John Lautner stands out more than any other as the mirror of this city.
Say what you will about Lautner — critics have assailed his work for being car-oriented fantasy escapes for the uber-rich — the man was a true modernist who provides a fascinating mirror-view of the mid-century Los Angeles experience.
As Hess writes, “You still can’t spell Lautner without L.A.”
From July 16 to November 13, the John Lautner Foundation is celebrating the architect’s centennial birthday with a stacked calendar of events. For more info, click here.
Photos via LA Times