Category Archives: The John Lautner Foundation

Information about the John Lautner Foundation

Where the JL Foundation is today

The foundation is headed by five directors, who all volunteer their time and expertise. All foundation board members have other work, and are not available full time for foundation work. With occasional assistance from other volunteers and contract help as needed, the board does all of the work of the foundation. There is no paid staff, no dedicated office.

Now that memberships in the foundation are offered (and the member list is growing monthly), the board intends to provide exceptional opportunities to visit Lautner buildings, to meet those involved in their construction, to meet other Lautner enthusiasts. The foundation also intends to assist Lautner building owners with preservation as the money becomes available for this purpose. To that end, we seek grant money and donations.

Frequently-asked Questions

1. What is the John Lautner Foundation?

The foundation is a nonprofit organization, founded by family members and interested associates, for the purpose of preserving plans and other materials and providing information and assistance to the public. See the Foundation for more information.

2. Can I see John Lautner buildings?

Not always. Lautner building home owners have asked that we not provide addresses and names without contacting the owners on a case-by-case basis. We cannot always reach the current owners, and requests are handled as time permits.

If you want to visit some of these buildings, please send us a request – to comments (at) johnlautner (dot) org. The request will be forwarded to members of the board and others who may be able to arrange a tour. Please give as much time as possible for us to arrange visits. Please also check for commercial tours that may be available. Look at the links page for some companies that specialize in these tours.

Because of the increasing demands on time, we now give priority to groups rather than individuals, and ask for donations to the foundation in exchange for the time and access given.

3. Can I get copies of plans or photos?

Yes.  The Foundation archive is at the Getty Research Institute, Special Collections. The archive contains plans for virtually every Lautner building, and photographs of most (although the foundation does not have the rights to many of the photographs). These materials can be copied or loaned under certain circumstances.

Start here:

Search to see if there are plans or photographs of the buildings you are interested in.  If you can get to the Getty you can request permission to see what is available. For more info on borrowing materials from the Getty:

You may also copy photos or plans on these web pages, for personal use only. Any other use must be approved by the Foundation (see the terms of use.). Be sure, even for personal not-for-profit use, that you give credit to photographers and the foundation.

4. Where can I get more information on Lautner buildings?

There are some books that can be of help. The bibliography lists magazines and movies. The links page offers additional resources. If you have a specific detail question, email the Foundation and we will do our best to answer it.

6. What movies are Lautner buildings in?

There is a list on the bibliography – film page. If you know of others or believe there is an error in the list, please write.

Foundation events

The Foundation holds special events when feasible. They are held in different Lautner buildings and feature special panel discussions. The panels bring together clients, contractors, engineers, and others involved in the construction of the building.

In 2000, the inaugural event was held at “Silvertop“, the home built for Ken Reiner, inventor of “clippies”, special aircraft self-locking bolts, and other interesting items, some of which are used in this house (although you wouldn’t likely notice them). Mr. Reiner was joined by Dr. and Mrs. Burchill, the present owners, Guy Zebert, construction superintendent, Helena Arahuete, associate of Mr. Lautner’s at the time of the remodelling, Andrew Nasser, structural engineer of many Lautner buildings, and John Warner, concrete contractor on Silvertop. The discussion was moderated by Frank Escher, manager of the Lautner Archive.

The 2001 event featured a tour of four Lautner homes as well as a symposium. The tour took people to the Walstrom, Concannon, Sheats-Goldstein, and Schwimmer homes. The symposium was held at the recently-restored Harvey residence.

Edited videotapes of both panel discussions will be available for sale on the web site at a later date.

The Foundation uses proceeds from the events to help fund preservation projects and meet other Foundation goals.

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Memberships: The Foundation is now accepting members. Check the membership page for information.