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Seeing the video, I was reminded of Lautner's work. This house was a watershed moment for Neutra...I wonder if it influenced Lautner. He progressd away from the Sturges/Usonian grammar toward his own voice in the late '40's. This was about the time of Lautner's Desert Hot Springs Motel which, at least to me, marked his movement from direct Usonian influence more toward his mature work with the Googie's and later, his spectacular houses.
I've heard it said many times that the Seth Peterson Cottage offers the most architecture per square foot of any of FLW's designs. Having visited the cottage, I do not doubt that claim. Having also been fortunate enough to have visited several of Lautner's larger homes, I find it hard to believe that Lautner designed any other spaces that resulted in more architectural bang per square that the units at this motel.
Without being in the space itself, it is hard to describe the seemingly contradictory feelings of light, space, airiness and total privacy that he designed into these units, which are probably less than 400 square feet each, and include a kitchenette, bathroom, sleeping area, garden and patio. What a treat it was to spend a night there, one I won't soon forget.
When I stayed there, the motel had been restored and was owned by a Lautner enthusiast by the name of Steven Lowe. Steve was quite a character, and certainly a one-of-a-kind personality, who unfortunately passed away a little more than a year ago at a young age (late 40's to mid 50's I would guess).
The motel went up for sale last spring, and finally sold in late fall after several price reductions, for approx. $500,000 I believe, which seems like a steal to me. I would think that it has probably closed escrow by now, but I have no idea who the new owner is, or what their plans for the property are.
In closing, if you are ever in the Palm Springs area and have a chance to see this property, or spend a night or two there, do not pass up the chance. It is an opportunity not to be missed.
As evidenced by my earlier post on this thread, I could not agree with you more. Although it has received some recognition in the architectural press over the years, it amazes me that the Desert Hot Springs Motel has not been the recipient of more widespread acclaim.
Hopefully the motel will be prominently featured in the upcoming exhibition this summer on Lautner at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and as a result might gather more of the attention and recognition that it so richly deserves.
The total purchase price was slightly more than $19 million, due to the fact that the buyer, who has not yet been identified by Christie's, excercised an option to purchase a vacant parcel of land adjoining the house for approx. $3.2 million more.
It is not clear from the following press release whether the stated prices are inclusive of the buyer's premium or not. Here is the link to the press release issued last night about the sale by Christie's:
http://www.christies.com/presscenter/pd ... 103759.pdf
All I can say is that it was absolutely stunning, and it was truly one of the architectural thrills of my lifetime to this point.
I too hope that in the future other interested members of the public will have the chance to experience this masterpiece.
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- Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:41 am
- Location: Taliesin, Spring Green, WI & Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ