Thursday, January 14, 2010

Discovering Mid-Century Modern, Part 3

highlight on John Lautner and Frank Lloyd Wright

Another favorite architect of mine is John Lautner. He designed several homes in the Los Angeles area, including this one known as the Chemosphere:
"John Lautner didn’t believe that his work was futuristic, his opinion was that good architecture exits out of time." -look into my owl
Lautner seemed to pay close attention to space, and he tried to include the natural environment. One home that really impressed me is a home where he used the surrounding area's trees as columns or pillars to hold the expansive glass walls:
He is mostly responsible for the term "Googie" architecture, the exaggerated space-like architecture of coffee shops and bowling alleys in the 50's and 60's, because he designed the coffee shop Googie's. This building was on the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights Blvd, but was demolished in the 80's.
Here is one more photo of a home that he created in Acapulco Bay, Mexico called the Arango Residence, also known as Marbrisa:
(Lautner photos found from various google image searches)

Ah, yes. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most well-known names in architecture. I'm not sure that Wright is known as a "mid-century modern" designer, but rather as the author of "organic architecture." However, he taught several of the "mid-century modern" designers and had much influence on modern design. I think he made close to 400 structures.
He worked early on in this era and called a large group (about 50) of his homes "Usonian homes," which coined the term "carport" since he used car coverings instead of garages. These were usually small, single-family L-shaped houses with a garden terrace that incorporated natural heating, cooling, and lighting.

Here are some of his most famous buildings:
The Guggenheim Museum in New York City (these are a few photos from my last visit):

Falling Water in Bear Run, Pennsylvania (photos courtesy of wikipedia):

One that I'm hoping to visit soon on a trip to AZ is the Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Arizona (photo from

And for you locals, here is a home that is available for viewing in the Hollywood area:
the Hollyhock House at Barnsdall Art Park:
I went here a couple years ago with my friend Abbie and her parents. It was a great tour...about $8. Here is a panorama I made from a few pictures I took during the tour:
(click on picture above to enlarge! You can see a space around the fireplace where water would flow throughout the house, from the outside to the inside, through the interior garden terrace, and out to a sort of exterior mini amphitheater)

I could do a whole post on this house alone since the tour was so thorough. And maybe I will in the future, but for now, a couple more of the photos I took during the tour:
(this detail work was Wright's architectural version of the Hollyhock flowering plant, the client's favorite flower, and used throughout the interior and exterior of the house)

Sitting room adjacent living room, looks relaxing!

Interior breezeway

That was a much longer blog than I intended, but these two architects are worth it! It was fun to share a few of my personal photos, too. I hope you enjoyed it.


Modernesia said...

Great series of posts. Thanks for spreading the word!

reckless daughter said...

so cool post. DO you know about the Lloyd Wright Studio and Residence on North Doheny Dr in Weho? I'm not sure that you can tour it or anything but it looks quintessentially Wright on the outside. check it out.