John Lautner, FAIA, was born in Marquette, Michigan, in 1911 and worked under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin (Wisconsin and Arizona) from 1933-39. He worked in private practice in Los Angeles from 1946 where he boldly experimented with new industrial processes in what he terms his "continual search to answer total basic human needs, emotional as well as physical, in shelter."

The 1948 apartment building L'Horizon showed the influence of his six years at Taliesin. Visually intriguing and functionally ingenious, his design gives each of the nine units its own deck and outdoor garden. The Pearlman Cabin of 1957 is a successful attempt to integrate a modern building into a wooded site w ithout resorting to rusticness. The sharply angled glass walls of the house are supported by a circle of peeled log pillars, as if the building simply grew out of the surrounding trees. The result is refreshingly direct but not overly intrusive.

Perhaps Lautner's best known building is the Malin House of 1960, or simply the Chemosphere. This flying saucer shape perched on a single concrete column may look like futuristic indulgence, but it is also a very sensible solution for a small steep site. The one column foundation minimized destruction of the exisitng terrain and obviated the usual bull-dozing and retaining walls of hiillside building. The clear span interior of the hexagonal house leaves 1,300 square feet of uninterrupted living space and offers amazing views of the valley below.

Wolff House is again characteristically bold, made of dressed boulders, concrete and jutting glass, with the carport projecting like a great lip. Silvertop, as it is lovingly known, with a cantilevered driveway and swimming pool, is a cascade of projecting forms: it was several years in the building because of difficulties in obtaining permits for its unorthodox structure. The use of space is daring and inventive, but never at the expense of the human needs central to Lautner's view of architecture.

Selected Architects: Gregory Ain | Stiles Clements | Charles Eames | A. Quincy Jones |
Raymond Kappe | Pierre Koenig | John Lautner | Clifford May | Richard Neutra | Rudolph
M. Schindler
| Raphael Soriano | Frank Lloyd Wright | Lloyd Wright

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