Duncan Nicholson, founding member of The John Lautner Foundation and fine architect in his own right, died this month after a short illness. Duncan was always a good friend and valuable contributor to the Foundation as well as a dedicated architect in service to the truth. Duncan’s office and family have consented to our sharing their information on a memorial service for Duncan:
A memorial service will be held for Duncan at St. Martin Catholic Church on Saturday, February 7th at 11:00 am.
Or by mail:
The John Lautner Foundation
P.O. Box 29517
Los Angeles, CA 90029-0517
We hope to see you there to honor the life of a great man, architect, and friend.
We will publish a tribute to Duncan in this space next week. If you would like to contribute your own memories or thoughts on this great man, please send them to Judith Lautner at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, February 1. Later submissions may be added to the tribute.
One of John Lautner’s best-known residences is for sale. The Foster Carling residence, built in 1947 (and remodeled by Lautner in 1991) using the same suspended roof scheme as two other Lautner designs (Poling and Jacobsen), also features a wall that opens outward with the flip of a switch, taking the built-in seating from inside the living area to the outside deck.
For more information on the house and the sale terms, go to the Modern Living LA website. The site contains several excellent photographs.
AbilityFirst, the current owner of the Lautner-designed Crippled Children’s Center in Woodland Hills, along with the potential buyer, Oakmont Senior Living, have applied for a demolition permit for the center building. Although SurveyLA identified the building as a potential historical resource eligible for the California Register and for local listing, the project was not referred to the appropriate office (Office of Historic Resources) within the LA Planning Department. The Planning Department, unaware of its significance, prepared a Mitigated Negative Declaration, a determination that the demolition would not be significant.
Please join the Los Angeles Conservancy and The John Lautner Foundation in asking that the Mitigated Negative Declaration be denied and that an Environmental Impact Report be prepared instead, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act.
Go to the Conservancy’s website for full details and information on what to emphasize in your letter to the City Planning Department. Time is limited: please send your email to the project planner, Jordann Turner, by May 27, 2014.
The Jules Salkin residence in Echo Park is set to go on the market, probably May 12, 2014. The house has been in the family from the beginning, but for the past 17 years was rented. The family has been unable to do all of the repairs necessary over the years, so it is a little run-down but clearly worthy of the right buyer.
Visit the website developed for the sale to see details and many photographs, including many taken at the Getty, where the present owner visited the Lautner archive and found plans and even early photographs.
Fausto Giovannardi, one of the founders of the Italian architectural and engineering firm Studio Giovannardi e Rontini, has completed a 52-page illustrated paper on Edgardo Contini. Contini worked with John Lautner on a number of projects in the 1940s, notably the trio of Jacobsen, Polin, and Carling, all of which use the same hexagonal steel horizontal frame supported on three tapered steel trusses.
The Hotel Lautner (Desert Hot Springs) offered tours during Palm Springs Modernism Week, on Monday, February 17, 2014. The hotel owners invited board members of The John Lautner Foundation to be present during the tours, to offer information about the Foundation and to offer DVDs, Tributes, and memberships for sale. Hotel owners will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation as well.
The tours were well attended. There were many positive comments about the improvements the owners made to the hotel. The Foundation table was busy all afternoon with sales and greetings. Among the many distinguished guests were Leonard Malin (original client for the chemosphere) and his daughter Mary Ann Malin Rollison. A quick view of what guests saw:
Contact the owners for reservations or with questions through the hotel website at http://www.hotellautner.com.
Curbed LA announced the sale of a residence formerly owned by film director Robert Aldrich, noting that it contains an addition by John Lautner. See the article. In fact, Lautner did three projects for Aldrich, each at a different location. Only the third appears to have been built: a pool and den at the residence currently for sale, completed in 1978. The pool still exists but it is difficult to determine what, if anything, is left of the den addition.
The September 6, 2013 edition of LA Times’ Home of the Week features the 1968 Stevens Residence, for sale by noted modernist rescuer Michael LaFetra. In other articles, LaFetra notes that he is expecting a baby in his life and that baby-proofing this home would damage its architectural character. LaFetra spent significant amounts of time and money restoring the elegant beach home to near-original, and enjoyed living there. Even Stevens’ daughter, invited to visit, is delighted with its current condition. The home is more than suitable for a family, as Stevens’ own experience testifies, but yes, it would be tricky for a toddler. We can expect that LaFetra will take care that the next owner is right for it.
The September 2013 edition of Grand Designs, a British magazine based on a television show of the same name, lists the Chemosphere (Malin residence) as one of “the most iconic homes of the twentieth century”. The article notes that the six homes chosen in the article have all “played key roles in redefining the benchmark for modern residential architecture”. The chemosphere shares space with Wright’s FallingWater, Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye,Shigeru Ban’s “paper house”, Gerrit Rietveld’s Schroder house, and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth house.
The article, which begins on page 139 of the September issue, features the Chemosphere on the first page.
Education about and preservation of Lautner buildings