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.
One of the events in the celebration of John Lautner’s birth in 2011 was a panel discussion, “Preserving Lautner’s Legacy”, held at the Wilshire Christian Church in Los Angeles. This discussion is now available on youtube, at http://youtu.be/rINak85pUzk and can be seen here as well:
The panel was hosted by The Los Angeles Conservancy and The John Lautner Foundation, with the support of the Getty Conservation Institute. Linda Dishman, Los Angeles Conservancy Executive Director, moderated the discussion. Members of the panel were:
Helena Arahuete, Principal, Lautner Associates; architect consultant to the Harvey Residence (1951); Advisor to The John Lautner Foundation Frank Escher, board member of the John Lautner Foundation; Principal, Escher GuneWardena Architecture; architect consultant to the Malin Residence (Chemosphere) (1960); Member of the Board of Directors of The John Lautner Foundation Mark Haddawy, current owner of the Harpel Residence (1956); Advisor to The John Lautner Foundation Michael LaFetra, board member of Los Angeles Conservancy; current owner of the Rawlins Residence (1980); Advisor to The John Lautner Foundation Ron Radziner, FAIA, Principal, Marmol Radziner; architect consultant to the Garcia Residence (1962)
Kenny Caldwell, architectural writer, interviewed Murray Grigor, director of Infinite Space, after the screening of the film in San Francisco. The interview, with pictures, is published on one of Caldwell’s blogs, Design Faith. The perceptive questions reveal much about Lautner’s relationship to the earth and to his clients as well as offer insight into the making of the film.
In the Architect’s Journal of June 15, 2009, Lautner’s chemosphere (Malin residence) is compared to one of the structures in the Star Wars films’ “cloud city”. The image of Cloud City is taken from Episode 5 of the Star Wars film series. Nine other Star Wars structures are compared to famous architectural icons on earth as well.
Trusty researcher John Crosse has unearthed a little column from the deep, dark past. In this column, printed in the Los Angeles Times in 1960, columnist Fred Beck ruminates on possible uses for the chemosphere “concept”, and includes a sketch at the top of the column.
We don’t think he fully grasps the actual reason for the design but he’s right that the design has potential to be used in other difficult situations.
Download the column. It’s squeezed on the right side of the page, amid the ads that have some interest in themselves (look at the prices!).
The 2003 documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself, by Thom Andersen, is rarely seen in theaters, apparently because of the lack of rights to various film clips in the film. But you can see the segment where Lautner buildings in film are used and misused, mainly by the bad guys and famously by Mel Gibson (for the record: no way the Garcia residence could be pulled down by a pickup truck). The segment speaks in general about the use of modern architecture in Los Angeles in film.
Thanks to Tom Hall of the Sarasota Film Festival for this link:
Education about and preservation of Lautner buildings