architectural story ot' America hecause. unlike other architects such as Richard \eutra and Rudolt Schindler. he did eyerything ditterent. You can almost see a similarity hetween all the Neutra and Schindler huildings. more so with \eutra. httt |,autner neyer httilt the same thing twice. I think what drew tne to tnake tlte liltn was that [k‘l‘I-c‘ct ltlsltm m, tllllic‘ult site\ he loyetl (III-IICUII sites. wotttlct'l'ul clients the clients were interesting. progressiye people and also tlte tact that lie was just a little hit mad. lake the Izlrod house. w hich is in Himmuu/y (ll'l’ l‘iIl'l’l't’I'. lilrod. the client said: “(iiye me the house yott tltink I should haye .lohn." He was so ct‘a/y the ﬁrst thing he did was dig down in het“ een the t'ttc‘k\ and put stairs in. “hit tlttes that." (it'igor httrsts into laughter.
'l‘o appreciate I.atttner's work you haye to understand the elemental pantheistn that dt‘oy'c him. liyhihition curator l‘t'ank lisc‘her (along with Nicholas ()ldshet'gt explains: ‘l.autner neyet' tltottght ot' his huildings as ohiects in a landscape. It was always ahottt the architectural space and how that relates to the landscape.‘ lischer. whose I‘NX hook on l.autttet' and ltis huildings remains the seminal text on his suhject. is in no dottht as to l.autner‘s place in the Pantheon of American art. ‘()\ er a career spanning 5() years he dey‘eloped a ley'el ol' precision in training the View and directing the eye to the hori/on. His work is ahottt the connection hetween space and the world. hetween limit and construction.‘
(irigor and l.autnet”s daughter .ludith agree that he shottld he rememhered not only for his disparate designs httt tor the close relationships he tinged with clients and sites he worked on.
‘When tny lather got a new client he would get a tnap ol~ tlte property and go tip to the site. He would take a soil pencil and mark things on the tnap. lle wottld walk around and discover interesting rocks and plattts or where the wind was or it there was an unusttal View. Then he would return to his ollice and sit and stare at the tttap for days. waiting l‘ot' these eureka moments. When they catne he would draw quickly and roughly and jot notes. But tny lather was a tall man. he had hig hands and was a messy tlt'altstnan. so he would tlten hand these creations to his long sttll‘et'ing (It'llllslllc‘lt to clean up.‘
.ludith l.autnet' heliey'es that tar l'rom heing the
An exterior shot and plan of The Chemosphere
1 ‘\ ‘ - . ‘ \rw- . ‘ , ‘ .. - 5‘ H , l w. q—Wro-pgq~-d~ooov
‘HE WAS 50 CRAZY THE FIRST THING HE DID WAS DIG DOWN IN BETWEEN THE ROCKS AND PUT STAIRS lN'
cliched architect who cares lc‘ss Lthtiut their clients or society than their own precious integrity. it was her lather‘s heliel‘ in collahoration attd connection that tnade him unique. ‘My father liked to work with people who were handy themselves. He disliked doing the small details so even alter he left a property he liked to he reassured that a ltouse was a work itt progress. something organic. He would often drop hy to check on his creations and clients.‘ (irigor hopes his tilm and the exhihition (tor which he has put together lilnt loops ot Lautner's renderings and photographs) will re-ey'aluate Lautner's legacy. which stillered years of liast (‘oast snohhery under the moniker ol‘ ‘(ioogie‘
or noyelty arclutecture when lautnet”s work hecame lauded hy what (irtgor calls 'grooytes' thippiest. ‘lle did nothtttg in liurope. he did yery little outside ot~ l..-\. ltts masterpiece is the .\Iahrisa down in .-\capulco in .\le\tco attd the other house is the 'l'urnet‘ House in .-\spen and one in l’lot'ida httt apart trottt that they are all itt tlll\ \[X‘clllc area ttl I.t\\ .~\llgc‘lc\. lle lttttc‘tl I..-\ httt it was nine million people lte thottght he might get three or tour clients there .>\nd yet his ittllttettce is huge.’
l'i\c‘llc‘t‘ lk‘llc‘\c‘\ lltc‘t‘c‘ is Iltl l‘c‘ttc‘t' tllttc‘ littl‘ th‘ return ol' |.autnet‘: ‘.\s the architecture ol' tltttltc‘stlc‘ \[Ntc‘t‘ \L‘L'Ill\ putsc‘tl ttt c‘lttc‘l' a new cycle ot~ inyention alter years ot' stagnation l.autnet"s work has a new releyance. l‘ttl' trom heittg startling httt hollow architectural sculpture. his houses retnain what
they were intended to he: spaces in which lite is enriched hy the unique architectural idea that animates them.‘
Such are our media-honed sensihilities towards architecture. l.autner's ahility to appease arid ot't‘end will ttttdouhtedly continue to he his most noticcahle legacy. that. attd the wisp til” the /eitgeist that remains itt l’ulit/er pt'i/ewinner poet (‘harles Simic's poem ‘Soly ittg the Riddle‘: ‘lnside my empty hottle l was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were tttakittg ships.‘
Between Heaven and Earth: The
Architecture of John Lautner, The Lighthouse, Glasgow, Fri 20 Mar-Sun 26 Jul. Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner, GFT, Glasgow, Sun 29 Mar.
5-‘9 Ma' 2929 THE LIST 19