David Hertz, FAIA, worked for John Lautner for about 3-1/2 years. His work now focuses on environmental design (a project in the works involves re-use of a 747 wing) and was featured in the October-November issue of Plenty magazine (see http://www.plentymag.com – this issue is not yet available digitally except to subscribers) (p 56-58). Find him at http://www.syndesisinc.com. David remembers:
I met Mr. Lautner at Joanne and Gil Segel’s home when I was 17 in 1977- While at SCI-ARC I worked in the office summers full time and Tuesdays and Thursdays full time for about 3 1/2 years.
In the office at that time where, of course Helen but also Vaughn Trammell, Richard Turner, Lester Korzilios, Christine [Tanaka] was office manager for a part of that time.. Of course others came and went.. I also was in the site with Wally [Niewadomski] on a few projects.
There were some fantastic memories with John and the office at the Mulholland racket club pool, going to San Fransisco for brunch at johns favorite hotel, was it the Regency?
I was responsible first as an intern, for organizing the drawing library then in drawing most of the ink on Mylar presentation drawings for the book project, then photographing projects. I then assisted on projects like , Beyer where I built the model, also was involved in working directly with John on several un built projects from Schematic to Design Development, a real highlight.
I was married on the rooftop of the Segel residence 18 years ago and remain in contact with many of the people form the office and clients alike.
I taught a course and did a tour on Lautner’s work at UCLA in the 1990’s and have seen and photographed most of the work and projects. I had Frank Escher as a guest lecturer and Helen as well. We got to tour Silvertop, Segel, Chemosphere, Familian, Sheats/Goldstein, Concannon and about 5 other projects. I did a lot of early scouting photographs of most of the projects for the book and so that I could field verify for the presentation photographs, how lucky I was to be there at that time!!
Working for John was an immensely influential experience as he was a true mentor to my fertile mind at that time. His influence is still very strong in my work and philosophy.
I was at John’s service and remember it so well. Having lost both my parents suddenly last year, I am particularly aware of how important having lasting works of art continue the memory and spirit of our brief moment on earth. As Hipprocrotes said ” ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS” (Art is Long Life is short.