JOHN

LAUTNER

John Lautner

was one of last century’s most important contemporary American architects. His work was concerned with the relationship of the human being to space and of space to nature. Lautner’s designs share a sense of drama, powerful geometry and warmth, and a profound respect for the site. His buildings stand as functional sculpture. They are unique entities unlike those of any other architect. Lautner was born in 1911, the older of two children. He was raised in Marquette, Michigan, graduating from high school and college there. The northern woods and the deep blue of Lake Superior remained in his soul throughout his life, and he was to return time and time again to bask in what he considered a heaven on earth.After graduating with a degree in English from the Northern Michigan University (then Northern State Teachers College), Lautner became an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright for six years, joining the first group of Taliesin Fellows. In 1937 he supervised the construction of two of Wright’s projects, and two years later established his own practice in Los Angeles. His first solo project was a house for his own family, which architectural critic Henry-Russell Hitchcock called “the best house by an architect under 30 in the United States.” Later Hitchcock remarked that “Lautner’s work could stand comparison with that of his master.” A comparison, incidentally, that Lautner himself would have been reluctant to make, given his lifelong devotion to Mr. Wright. Lautner’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad. His buildings have been featured in countless publications, in a documentary film on his life and work, in the James Bond and Diehard films, among others, and in commercials for television. In 1970, he was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for Excellence in Design. He also received the Gold Medal from the Los Angeles AIA chapter in 1993 for his lifetime achievement. At the time of his death on October 24, 1994, the 83-year-old Lautner was still working on several large projects.