John Lautner’s Malin House “Chemosphere” 1960

Since we’re on a roll with discussions of Lautner in our Building of the Week series, we’re just going to keep on rolling. The other year when the MAK had their tour, after visiting the Harpel House (see last week’s BOTW installment) it seemed appropriate to walk up the street and have a nice view of the Chemosphere House. Here you can see them from Google Earth, with the hexagonally-based Harpel House appearing as the long white bar in the lower right, and the octagonal Chemosphere to the left.

Parson Architecture Blog Lautner Chemosphere

Of all the great architecture I’ve seen in L.A. over the years, I’ve still not managed to get inside this particular epic masterpiece. Since there has been volumes written on it, and there is no shortage of images available at your fingertips, I don’t feel particularly bad about not going into a lengthy analysis at this point.

Parson Architecture Blog Lautner Chemosphere

Parson Architecture Blog Lautner Chemosphere

Parson Architecture Blog Lautner Chemosphere

Parson Architecture Blog Lautner Chemosphere

Parson Architecture Blog Lautner Chemosphere

The way these two Lautner masterpieces are sited in such close proximity to each other is really great. Especially when they are so different from each other: one linear, hugging the ground; the other compact, perched atop its pedestal. Taking the time to walk up the hill a little further to see the Chemosphere and really appreciate it in person, rather than just in photos, was like a nice bonus on the tour that day.


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