John Lautner (John Lautner)

John Lautner

Architect. Lautner’s first building experience came when he helped his parents build a chalet-style retreat in Michigan, designed by his mother, that looked out over Lake Superior from a hillside high above it. After graduating with a degree in English from the Northern Michigan University, he became an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright for six years, joining the first group of Taliesin Fellows. In 1937, he supervised the construction of two of Wright’s projects, and two years later established his own practice in Los Angeles. His first solo project was a house for his own family, which an architectural critic called “the best house by an architect under 30 in the United States.” Lautner practiced architecture for 6 decades, designing unusual and unique residences in and near Los Angeles, including Silvertop, the Chemosphere, the Sheats/Goldstein residence, the Levy residence, and the Elrod residence in Palm Springs, which was featured in the James Bond movie ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, as well as many other projects around the world. He was also responsible for the innovative design of some restaurants such as Henry’s, Googies and Tiny Naylor’s. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad and his buildings have been featured in countless publications, documentaries, films, and in commercials for television. In 1970, he was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for Excellence in Design and in 1993, received the Gold Medal from the Los Angeles AIA chapter for his lifetime achievement. Lautner was still working on several projects at the time of his death from natural causes at the age of 83.  (bio by: Louis M.)  Family links:  Spouse:  Elizabeth Gilman Lautner (1905 – 1978)  Children:  Karol Lautner Peterson (1938 – 2015)* *Calculated relationship


  • July, 16, 1911
  • USA


  • October, 10, 1994
  • USA


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