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Michael Webb
writes on modern architecture, design, and travel. He is the author of 26 books, most recently Modernist Paradise: Niemeyer House, Boyd Collection (Rizzoli) and Venice CA: Art +Architecture in a Maverick Community (Abrams). He travels widely in search of new and classic modern architecture and contributes to magazines around the world. Michael lives in the Neutra apartment that Charles and Ray Eames once called home.

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Michael Webb

Entries in John Lautner (2)

Tuesday
Jul092013

Books: Two Southern California Modernists

Edward A. Killingsworth: an Architect’s Life. Jennifer M. Volland and Cara Mullio. Hennessy + Ingalls, $60.

A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living. Edited by Brooke Hodge. Hammer Museum and Del Monico Books/Prestel, $60.

By Michael Webb

For an architect to win fame, it helps to be dead. Louis Kahn commanded attention from only an enlightened few during his painful struggle to win commissions; today, he is acclaimed as one of the giants of modernism. Still more is that true in southern California, where R.M.Schindler and John Lautner were ignored or dismissed during their lifetimes but are now seen as seminal figures. A host of lesser talents await their due

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Thursday
Jul282011

Celebrating John Lautner

Infinite Space: the Architecture of John Lautner is an award-winning documentary by Murray Grigor, a Scottish filmmaker acclaimed for earlier studies of Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Whether or not you caught the recent screening at the Egyptian—a highlight of the Lautner Foundation’s centennial celebration of the master’s birth—you should treat yourself to the DVD.

Grigor is one of the few moviemakers who understands—as Lautner did—that architecture is about space and light, not static facades. He and his cinematographer capture the dynamic experience of walking up to, around, and through 14 of Lautner’s greatest houses, from the Hollywood Hills to Aspen and Acapulco. He chronicles the evolution of an artist for whom each site and client was a fresh challenge. Few had the imagination or the budget to exploit his full potential, but Marbrisa, the Elrod, and Turner houses show the reach of his daring. But he was equally concerned to perfect a mountain cabin.  A succession of proud owners—some original, some who brought endangered houses back to life—explain how living in a Lautner has immeasurably enriched their lives. They too, deserve praise, and it’s a great loss to architecture and to LA that Lautner found so few of them in his fifty-year career.

 

Contact the John Lautner Foundation
for information on fall events,
including a tour of the Desert Hot Springs Motel
and a preservation symposium on October 9.