The John Lautner papers contain the
comprehensive archive of this Southern California architect who became famous for such
innovative structures as Chemosphere (the Malin House) and Silvertop (the Reiner House).
Comprised of about 10,000 drawings, photographs and slides, and 17 models, plus Lautner's
office and correspondence files, the archive is an important resource for the study of
Southern California modernism in all its diverse aspects. The drawings detailing the
structural engineering that enabled Lautner to create his sculpturally innovative houses
will be of particular interest to historians of architecture and science.
Born in Marquette, Michigan in 1911, John Lautner grew up in a world of ideas and art, the
first child of parents who believed that a person is formed by the physical and intellectual
environment in which he is raised. The young Lautner was immersed in a carefully crafted set
of balancing influences: an academic father and an artistic and mystical mother; the wild,
elemental landscape of the Upper Peninsula and extended visits to the urban worlds of New
York City and Boston. By Lautner's account, one of the most formative influences of his
youth was the family's cabin on the wild shore of Lake Superior, Midgaard. Here, each summer
from 1923-1928, Lautner helped his father construct the building designed by his mother.
This first exposure to architecture set him on his path, the merging of the natural and the
fabricated, of landscape and enclosed space.
958.1 Linear Feet
(211 boxes, 711 flatfiles, 139 rolls)
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of the unreformatted audiotape.
Boxes 211-217*, Flat file folders 695**-700** and Roll 138** are sealed pending review.
Contact the repository for information regarding access to the architectural models.