Los Angeles

John Lautner

Mount San Antonio College Gallery

The John Lautner retrospective includes work dating back to 1939, and his growth has kept pace with the intervening years. The Los Angeles architect demonstrates particular strength in manipulation of reinforced concrete.

The show is made up of both photographs and drawings, and it is in the latter particularly, that his debt to Frank Lloyd Wright is acknowledged. Generally, the show presents the wide sweeping curves and great expanses of concrete that one comes almost to expect of West Coast architects.

But it is in one of his later efforts, The Marco Wolfe House, that Lautner’s ability begins to match his aspirations. The reinforced concrete is generously employed, yet—and this is uncommon—one’s imagination is not limited to its stark blandness. Here the concrete is nearly united with the mountain upon which it rests, yet seems almost to soar away from it. It is, in fact, sculpture.

If the Wolfe House proves prophetic of Lautner’s work to come, then his future is, indeed, a bright one.

Jay Christopher