Category Archives: Associates

Bio of Edgardo Contini Written by Italian Engineer

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.

You can download the paper. Note that it is written in Italian.

Remembering Andrea Simoncelli

Andrea Simoncelli, an Italian architect who worked in John Lautner’s office from November 1971 until October 1975, died in Rome August 16, 2010.

He worked on many projects in Lautner’s office, among them the Hope residence in Palm Springs, for which he drew the presentation drawings. When he first came to Los Angeles his command of English was limited, but by the time he left for home he could converse easily in this new language. Andrea lit up the small crew with his sense of humor and passion. John Caldwell, also in the office then, writes:

I will always remember Andrea as a dedicated and challenging architect. We had lots of laughs together and sometimes we thought “trouble” was his middle name. It is funny what you remember about people. I went home with him once for lunch and was surprised when I went into the bathroom and found almost every object labeled with a note: “faucet”, “water closet”, etc. He was preparing for his California licensing exam and was brushing up on his English technical terms. In the end it was the use of an “English” word that was his demise at the exam. The exam’s design problem was a bank with a drive-up teller with stacking for 6 cars. Someone finally explained “stacking” to him in this context during a toilet break but it was too late for him to successfully complete that phase of the exam.

He was a great architect and a wonderful warm person who never did anything half way. We will miss you.

As a thank you to Lautner, who helped him gain visa extensions, allowing him a longer time to work in the U.S., Andrea offered to share his Rome with Lautner’s daughter Judith, who was also working in the office then. The two left for Rome in December 1974. Judy stayed in Andrea’s mother’s apartment for a month, trying desperately to pick up a bit of Italian (she took hope from Andrea’s progress in English) and making forays around Rome and to other cities in Italy on her own. From time to time she would go places with Andrea, to his friends’ apartments or to parties given by other friends, and to meet his former architect employer, but for the most part Andrea was involved in a whirlwind of activity of his own, trying to catch up with his left-behind life. Judy met two of Andrea’s three sons at some (long, beautifully-cooked) meals. They were about five at the time and hard-working well-behaved little schoolboys. His youngest son, Oliver Manzi, had this to say about his father:

My father was always drawing.

Whether on the phone, at a restaurant, or discussing alimony with my mother, he always had a pencil that he’d slip out of his breast pocket, and while his interlocutor would speak, he would draw on any surface at hand.

He had tremendous energy and no patience. He would speak his mind even if it would land him in trouble, and would gobble up life as fast as he could eat a plate of spaghetti, which believe me was shockingly fast.

When it came to art and life, he had a craving for immediacy. Immediate emotions.

He used to tell me: “I like painters that paint with their arm.”
I believe this applied to architects as well, including John, whom my father adored.

I will always be indebted to my father for instilling in me a love for the arts.

In his last 15 years his illness confined him to his house in Rome, but despite this he remained fun, impulsive and charming to the end. My two older brothers, Cesare and Oscar Simoncelli, and I will miss him dearly.

Perhaps no more needs to be said about this man, who was so full of energy, humor, generosity, and creativity. If you remember Andrea, however, please feel free to send your thoughts to us at comments (at) johnlautner (dot) org and we may find a way to expand this article to include them.

Thank you, Oliver Manzi, for the photographs of Andrea

Calling all Lautner associates

An open letter to persons who worked for John Lautner:

We know who some of you are (see the Associates page). We don’t know all of you. And we’d like to. We’d also like to know what projects you worked on while in the office. This information is especially useful for obtaining accuracy in our records and for future applications for cultural heritage monument status.

Thus we ask each of you to write to us at associates (at) johnlautner (dot) org. Tell us, please:

* Your name
* Your present contact information: mailing address, telephone, company, email address
* When you worked for or with John Lautner (range of years or months)
* What projects you worked on during that time. What was your role? What do you remember about them?

If you have particular memories about that time we’d love to hear them.

Associates of John Lautner

The following architects worked in John Lautner’s offices for the number of years indicated. Many others worked for Mr. Lautner over the years, but it is difficult to verify the time spent in every case. The Board of Directors has confirmed these names and years, and from time to time may amend the list when more information is available.

Architect Address
Helena Arahuete (23 years) Lautner Associates
8055 W. Manchester Ave. suite 705
Playa del Rey CA 90293
Tel 1 310 577-7783/Fax 1 310 577-7793
Vaughan Trammell (12 years) Vaughan Trammell, Architect
1912 Benecia Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel 1 310-277-1656/Fax 1 310-277-1699
Guy Zebert (12 years) Guy Zebert
Box 9483
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Tel 1 310-823-8158
Julia Strickland (8 years) Julia Strickland and Jack Burnett-Stuart, Architect
1648 N. Coronado Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tel 1 213-483-4948/Fax 1 213-413-8481
Andrew Nolan (7 years:
Jan 82 – Feb 89)
P.O. Box 557
Avalon Beach
NSW 2107
Tel 02-9973-4355/Fax 02-9973-4366
Duncan Nicholson (5 years) Duncan Nicholson, Architect
3200 Airport Avenue, Suite 12
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Tel 1 310 313-1928/Fax 1 310 313-1906
Warren Lawson (4 years) Warren Lawson
25612 Isle of View Place
Calabasas, CA 91302
Tel 1 818-591-0646


Lynn Call (4 years) Lynn Call, Architect
7717 Hollywood Blvd., Suite #2
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Tel 1 323 876 0430
fax 1 323 876 7163
Andrea Simoncelli (4 years: Nov 71-Oct 75) ANDREA SIMONCELLI
Died August 16, 2010
Kay Marshall Henryson (4 years) Kay M. Henryson, AIA
7607 Eastmark Drive, Suite 245
College Station, Texas 77840
David Hertz (3-1/2 years) David Randall Hertz FAIA
S.E.A. 1920 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica , California 90404
John Caldwell (2 years: 1972 – 74) 3107 Washington Bl.
Marina del Rey, CA 90292email:
Louis Wiehle (1 yr, 7 mos) 2225a Hyperion Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
1-323-668-2225 Fax: 1-323-668-2228
Roger Bennett, Architect (1 year +/-) 453 S. Spring Street
Suite 639
Los Angeles, CA 90013