The architecture of John Lautner

Things are tough at the moment. I mean, who knew that a 7 year old digging in his Lego box all day would drive me to absolute distraction! Oh yes, and also the climbing wall is shut, and we can’t go to Fontainebleau. I think I’ve covered all the important bases there.

On the plus side, I have only belatedly realised there is a Thunderbirds remake available. I never watched the original, but the remake seems to try and retain the 60s aesthetic and render some of the CGI to look like a model. The kids are absolutely loving it, and I quite enjoy it, particularly the amusing way the baddie is always the same guy in every episode, and they never defeat him.

The best bit by far is the house on Tracy Island.

Interior of International Rescue HQ

I was waxing lyrical on the coolness of those 60s houses that are built into rock, with exposed sides and huge glass vistas. I was quite amazed to find that the interior design has not changed at all since the 1960s show, and yet nearly 60 years later, it looks fresh and modern. Although apparently the Tracy Island house is modelled on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, all the houses that appeared on Google in relation to naturalistic architecture were designed by John Lautner – who was Lloyd Wright’s apprentice in the 1930s.

I had no idea he built those houses on private commission, and that a number of them are still in private ownership. The are absolutely stunning.

Silvertop, Los Angeles
Silvertop kitchen (Bestor architecture)
Elrod House, Palm Springs
Elrod House, Palm Springs – maybe a bit too much concrete?
Garcia house – my favourite
Garcia house interior
Wolff residence, Los Angeles

Unfortunately, or rather fortunately for the owners, these are all private dwellings. One piece of good news for us is that James Goldstein has bequeathed his Lautner house, which seems to be the only one that was also fully renovated and extended by Lautner himself, to a Los Angeles museum upon his death.

Sheats – Goldstein house, Los Angeles

I spent some time picturing our lives in one of these houses,nearly all of which are in California, but that would be no obstacle in my January fantasy world. We would go climbing all the time. We would have elegant soirees, with long, Grecian dresses, and elaborate braids. We would serve prawn cocktail and cosmopolitans from the bar. Then we’d be drunk, and jump in the pool, and the kids would be running around naked with water pistols, laughing maniacally. The combination of alcohol and water would represent no potential obstacles for anyone’s safety, because we’d have a few nannies hired to ensure the children were in fact fed and looked after whilst we partied.

I would own a red 1970s Mercedes like this:

When we weren’t off climbing in Yosemite, I would go for long runs in the Hollywood Hills, and I’d be skinny because I’d have bloody Mary’s for lunch, and avocado salads for dinner. Have I missed anything out?

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