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John Lautner, Architect [Hardcover]

Frank Escher
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 1994
In 1937, then an apprentice with Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner went to Los Angeles to supervise construction of the Sturgess Residence. Two years later he established his own office in Hollywood, building a house for himself which Henry Russell Hitchcock called "the best house by an architect under 30 in the US". Never part of the architectural establishment, John Lautner has always practiced what he calls "real Architecture". Among the best-known examples are the Malin Residence (Chemosphere), the Reiner Residence (Silvertop), the Goldstein (formerly the Sheats) Residence, the Arango Residence in Acapulco, and the Elrod Residence in Palm Springs. His work ranges from exciting but low-cost houses to finely crafted large residences, to restaurants and educational facilities. This monograph is a presentation of John Lautner's work. Almost 50 realized buildings, dating from 1940 to 1992, are described and illustrated. The book also includes a chronological list of work, a bibliography, an interview with Lautner in which he describes the most important influences on his work, and Lautner's own individual views on architecture.

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"In this fascinating account of new previously unreported information on the commission of American posters during World War II, the authors vividly present quotes revealing the goals and methods applied to pictorial standards. With new insights familiar posters come alive again as the strategies for their design are discussed and assesed in an up to date historical perspective. This book will be invaluable to all those interested in the World War II studies and graphic design." -- Therese Thau Heyman

"This book presents some fifty of the realized projects as well as republishing an interview that Marlene Laskey conducted with the architect in 1986, and a collection of Lautner's observations....The spectacular location of the villas--on rocky slopes, on the ocean, or, better still, on rocky slopes overlooking the ocean--is invariably exploited by Lautner to the full. He developed an infallible feeling for using the design of his houses to emphasize the dramatic aspect of their setting. Grand gestures, prodigious cantilevers (certainly since he discovered the structural possibilities of concrete in 1963), subtle light delivery, and strategic orientation are the most striking characteristics, together with the vast dimensions and robust finish."  -- Arthur Wortmann, Archis

"This book celebrates the career of a neglected giant, who enriched the Southland for over fifty years....Enthusiasts have had to wait for this sumptuous publication to discover the full range of John Lautner's achievement....He was an original striving for the unique, drawing his inspiration from the site, unbending and outspoken." -- Michael Webb, L.A. Architect

Lesser known to laymen's eyes is the work compiled in the recent paperback release of John Lautner, Architect (edited by Frank Escher; Princeton Architectural Press). A Wright apprentice who started his own practice in 1939, Lautner melded his space-age vision for housing with the California landscape, incorporating great expanses of glass, low-slung furniture, and natural materials. -- Elle Dcor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous resource and record... June 7 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book is really a treasure, with virtually all of the text and commentary provided by Lautner himself. A wonderful resource for anyone interested in understanding Lautner and his work.
The photographs, plentiful, are not quite as striking and colorful as in later books (especially the Hess/Weintraub book), but are interesting as most seem to be roughly contemporary with each building's completion, probably the original documentation photography, usually showing the original furniture and decor. (This is also the reason that a few buildings, like the Harvey House, have no interior photos--Lautner was not happy with certain decorative decisions and would not permit their publication.) This book and the Hess/Weintraub book together allow a fascinating "then/now" look at many buildings, showing how well they have adapted and survived changing styles and tastes.
Furthermore, this is the most comprehensive of the books on Lautner, including a great deal more buildings than the others and also a complete list of works, both built and unbuilt, sometimes with drawings. Buildings are also covered in more detail, with plans and sections provided for each.
A note on the older/hardcover editions: some may have binding errors, such as groups of pages out of place or upside down (the title is also upside down on the spine), but these errors may be unique to just a few copies, I'm not sure. Also, I know there is at least one photo that is slightly different in my hardcover copy than in the paperback--same view, different lighting and furniture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure. Dec 4 2001
Format:Paperback
Any Lautner enthusiast will be captivated by this book. It covers more buildings than any of the others, and includes Lautner's own comment on each, making it an invaluable record of Real Architecture.
Most of the photos in this book appear to have been taken shortly after the buildings were completed (and some during construction), so it makes a great companion to "The Architecture of John Lautner," which has mostly rescent photographs. Together, the books give a facinating "the and now" contrast, and demonstrate the timeless quality of Lautner's work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars web page problem April 8 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have no idea why "Therese Thau Heyman" review of world war two posters is on John Lautner's book page. Also, one of your two reviews is listed as refering to an out-of-print edition, rather unusual since this single book just came out rather recently
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Lautner's designs defined post-war architecture; bold, shaking off the conventions of the past and looking towards the future. Think of George Jetson--Lautner would have designed his house. If you drove a car with fins and it looked like a rocket, you would certainly park it in the driveway of a Lautner designed home. His designs made use of the new materials that came out of World War II stainless steel, cast concrete and aluminum. He designed houses perched on the hilltops around Los Angeles, with wide expanses of glass and wild rooflines. His commercial designs included restaurants, schools and municipal buildings. Lautner's style is distinct--his structures stand out from the rest. Buy this book! It's a great retrospect of his work, loaded with fine photography and commentary. Put this one on your coffee table!
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure. Dec 4 2001
By Taylor Haywood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Any Lautner enthusiast will be captivated by this book. It covers more buildings than any of the others, and includes Lautner's own comment on each, making it an invaluable record of Real Architecture.
Most of the photos in this book appear to have been taken shortly after the buildings were completed (and some during construction), so it makes a great companion to "The Architecture of John Lautner," which has mostly rescent photographs. Together, the books give a facinating "the and now" contrast, and demonstrate the timeless quality of Lautner's work.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous resource and record... June 7 2004
By Taylor Haywood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is really a treasure, with virtually all of the text and commentary provided by Lautner himself. A wonderful resource for anyone interested in understanding Lautner and his work.
The photographs, plentiful, are not quite as striking and colorful as in later books (especially the Hess/Weintraub book), but are interesting as most seem to be roughly contemporary with each building's completion, probably the original documentation photography, usually showing the original furniture and decor. (This is also the reason that a few buildings, like the Harvey House, have no interior photos--Lautner was not happy with certain decorative decisions and would not permit their publication.) This book and the Hess/Weintraub book together allow a fascinating "then/now" look at many buildings, showing how well they have adapted and survived changing styles and tastes.
Furthermore, this is the most comprehensive of the books on Lautner, including a great deal more buildings than the others and also a complete list of works, both built and unbuilt, sometimes with drawings. Buildings are also covered in more detail, with plans and sections provided for each.
A note on the older/hardcover editions: some may have binding errors, such as groups of pages out of place or upside down (the title is also upside down on the spine), but these errors may be unique to just a few copies, I'm not sure. Also, I know there is at least one photo that is slightly different in my hardcover copy than in the paperback--same view, different lighting and furniture.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great retrospect of one of America's greatest architects. Oct. 27 1997
By keith burnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
John Lautner, who passed away in 1994, designed some of the most innovative and daring buildings of post-war America. For many, his work is among the greatest statements to the the California lifestyle of the 1950's and 60's--bold, shaking off the past and looking to the wide-open future. Lautner made use of cast concrete, steel and glass to create dynamic stuctures that few architects or clients dare conceive today. Think Lautner, think Jetsons. This book shows us his work with outstanding photographs from the 1940's through the 70's and is peppered with Lautner's comments on the various projects. Whether you're an architect or a fan of the space age, this is one book that you're sure to leave on the coffee table!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lautner's work defined post-war space age architecture. July 7 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lautner's designs defined post-war architecture; bold, shaking off the conventions of the past and looking towards the future. Think of George Jetson--Lautner would have designed his house. If you drove a car with fins and it looked like a rocket, you would certainly park it in the driveway of a Lautner designed home. His designs made use of the new materials that came out of World War II stainless steel, cast concrete and aluminum. He designed houses perched on the hilltops around Los Angeles, with wide expanses of glass and wild rooflines. His commercial designs included restaurants, schools and municipal buildings. Lautner's style is distinct--his structures stand out from the rest. Buy this book! It's a great retrospect of his work, loaded with fine photography and commentary. Put this one on your coffee table!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not as Good as The Architecture of John Lautner Nov. 30 2010
By C. casey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I initially purchased this book to educate myself when I hired Arthur Dyson, a colleague of Lautner's, to design our home. I bought this book in the 1990s for around $30, and am quite surprised to see it now going for about $800! If you love Lautner, then you will of course like this book. It includes a comprehensive chronology of his residences, interlaced with textual narrative. It also includes a number of plan and elevation views. However, most of the photos are black and white. The resolution of all the photos is mediocre, having relatively poor contrast and some graininess. There are two other books that pretty much tell the same story but with much better visuals: The Architecture of John Lautner by Weintraub, and Lautner by Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange. For details, see my reviews of those books on Amazon. For photos of my house, designed by Arthur Dyson and built completely by my weary old hands, see [...].
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