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I was in the house in 2006, and it was an amazing, almost surreal experience. At that time, work had just begun on the expansion project, and the project architect, Duncan Nicholson (who worked with Lautner in the latter part of his career), was our guide on the tour of the property. No mention was made by anyone that in order for the expansion to occur that another Lautner building was sacrificed. Based on the photos I have seen, this seems to have been a real tragedy.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1000journa ... 343936006/
With funds like that, why not save them both? Concannon would have made a very nice guest house and a break from The Big Lebowski.
I guess I missed my chance on being a rock star or a real estate mogul. I need a new cowboy hat. Damn!
Lautner died in 1994, and from what I could figure out the remodeling of Concannon seems to have started in 1995, with the demolition taking place in 2002. So unless I totally missed something, I don't think Lautner had anything to do with either the remodeling or the demolition of his Concannon Residence.
The Flikr photos of Concannon show it as rather bleak with its black and white obsession and minimal furnishing. I hate the Darth Vader kitchen. The photos in the book (108-111) show it in a much better light. Tragic loss.
In response to the article Architect Duncan Nicholson writes:
â€œThe Concannon house was demolished because John Lautner was asked and agreed to design another building on its site. The question as to whether or not the house should or should not have been demolished is a non sequitur. The new solution desired by Jim Goldstein and envisioned by John Lautner is the apparent evidence that both men agreed with the decision to build anew.
John's boss' s boss famously stated "Form follows Function." I will riff on Louis Sullivan's dictum and state that Fact follows Fiction. The ruminations back and forth in this blog while interesting, merit a deeper understanding of the circumstances that led to my old boss's decision. Consider, that John's book had recently been published. After many attempts over the years, with various publishers, Artemis Press agreed to take it to print. As he had done for each house, John described the Concannon design and arranged the images graphically surrounding the text. My memory of that time in the Lautner office, was that since the project was finally recorded for history, it was agreeable with John to begin again on the site, especially since the home had lapsed into disrepair.
The architectural photographer and preservationist, Richard Nickel once said that "the enemies of building's are rain and stupid men." Architects endeavor to protect Clients from the elements but providing protection against ever-present ignorance or negligence is impossible. In 1992 the greatest Pacific cyclone ever recorded to hit Hawaii bore down on the Islands and toward Kuaui in particular. The owners of the Concannon house, were living on Kauai when Hurricane Iniki smashed through their property. The storm financially devastated them. After the storm, they sold the Concannon house to Jim Goldstein in order to marshall their resources. As Jim gained ownership he found that the the building had fallen fallow from the past owners absence and neglect. This circumstance influenced his decision to visit John Lautner about a new design.
The project was schematically designed by John in the Spring of 1994. By the fall he was dead. Two meetings occurred over the course of that Spring and Summer, with each giving more definition to the design of the Tennis Court and to the adjacent Guest House. Many years past before the project was taken up in earnest and much circumstance and thought occurred between those years. Two major factors occurred with design implications in the early years of this decade. First, a geological investigation found that the original Lautner Schematic had planned for the Eastern portion of the Tennis Court to be built upon ground that had thirty feet of fill beneath it. Instead, Andrew Nasser, Lautner's long time Structural Engineer and avid Tennis Player, recommended a post tensioned structural slab with eight large diameter reinforced concrete caissons. This approach would eliminate any chance of court surface cracking due to ground settlement. The second factor influencing the design was that Jim had lost his lease to his Lautner designed office located in a Century City office tower. An existing law firm in the building desired to expand vertically and won the right to take over two more floors beneath their present space. They had the muscle and Jim lost the lease after an expensive, lengthy and valiant effort to preserve his office for future generations.
Considering these circumstances, I suggested to Jim that the new structure necessary to build his court would allow for a home office to be built underneath it. Since then, other programmatic requirements have organicaly arisen over time and they have been incorporated. The designs have been instituted in the same way as John taught me, in that; the answer is always to be found in the problem. From this, ideas are created. Jim and I still work the same way as we did when I worked with him and Lautner as project architect. This has been the ongoing alchemy on the job for over the past thirty years. Whether it was me or one of the other Lautner trained project architects before me, we have all exercised the carefulness, exactitude and ideals that John taught us to practice with. â€œ
The concept and idea that solutions to a problem are to be found in the problem itself, was not original to Lautner, but to Louis Sullivan. From his Tall Buildings Artistically Considered, published in 1896:Architexan wrote: ↑Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:16 pm
.Considering these circumstances, I suggested to Jim that the new structure necessary to build his court would allow for a home office to be built underneath it. Since then, other programmatic requirements have organicaly arisen over time and they have been incorporated.
The designs have been instituted in the same way as John taught me, in that; the answer is always to be found in the problem. From this, ideas are created. Jim and I still work the same way as we did when I worked with him and Lautner as project architect. This has been the ongoing alchemy on the job for over the past thirty years. Whether it was me or one of the other Lautner trained project architects before me, we have all exercised the carefulness, exactitude and ideals that John taught us to practice with. â€œ
"It is my belief that it is of the very essence of every problem that it contains and suggests its own solution. This I believe to be natural law. Let us examine, then, carefully the elements, let us search out this contained suggestion, this essence of the problem."