Sticks and stones (And other materials!) may make great homes (And Cat Caves! That's the sassy, sexy, Elvira Mistress of Felinity!), but it's the mind of Man who designs them! :-D
Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending an interesting, and informative, presentation by my old High School classmate, Laguna Beach architect, David M. Parker.
It covered famous architect John Lautner's work and his unique approach to design, and how it has influenced Mr. Parker's own work.
John Lautner (1911 - 1984) studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and later began his own practice in Los Angeles.
While known for his dramatic custom homes which push the envelope of design and technology, it was this same daring that led many folks to be quite critical, and cranky, about his work, for many years.
The homes he designed, even those built over 50 years ago, are daring and visionary even by today's standards and, in his later years, and since his death, his styles have influenced at least two generations of architects.
His homes have appeared in a number of films such as "Diamonds are Forever", "Lethal Weapon 2", and "The Big Lebowski", and music videos, and at least two of his homes exist in Laguna Beach.
It was 630pm, and I found myself in the popular DeBilzan Gallery, on Forest Ave., just east of PCH, downtown.
To say that the Oil/Mixed Media artwork of William DeBilzan is unique, and interesting, is an understatement.
Oh, and expensive, too! No doubt some of the folks I found myself mingling with last night, before the presentation, and at the reception afterward, and half of the residents of fancy homes in the hills above, and around us, could afford these works, that cost thousands of dollars, but as for me, I'll just settle for looking, and enjoying. :-D
This was the innaugural gathering of Laguna Beach Friends of Architecture (Facebook Group Page).
As David describes the group:
"The purpose of this group is to hold informative and entertaining talks and mini-seminars on subjects relating to architecture and building. We will have different speakers who are based in the Laguna area."
David gave a combination Slide Show, and Video, presentation about the man he calls his "Phantom Mentor" (Someone he never met, or worked for, but from who he still learned things that influenced his own work as an architect.).
This event was the first of 2 presentations on Lautner, with the 2nd being next month.
David (That's him, with me, in the above photo) has designed homes in Laguna Beach, including one influenced by the work of Lautner.
He shared a brief portion of this wonderful, 2 min., video tour of the Lautner influenced home that he designed, on Coronado St., and several of the comments left by people who have either seen, or even been inside, the home, have left him some kind praise for a job well done. (David's YouTube Page has 16 videos, including other architecture related ones, and his own personal explanation of what type of an architect he is, and his personal influences.)
David devoted his presentation to an interesting discussion of 5 concepts that Lautner employed in his work:
1. Buildings should spring from 1 idea that captures everything about the location, and the needs of the owner of the finished home.
2. Architecture as Landscape.
3. Organic Architecture.
As David explained about the home he, himself, designed on Coronado:
"This house is an organically designed two story house, sitting along a ridge high above Laguna Canyon Road. The architecture was intended to be part of the landscape, perhaps suggesting a rock outcropping" (See link above for more of the description.)
4. Designing from the inside out, by shaping interior spaces first, then the outside.
5. Architecture is for people to enjoy.
There are at least 2 Lautner homes in Laguna Beach, and the John Lautner Foundation website is a great place to start when it comes to learning more than an hour long prensentation by a devotee can provide, but hearing from someone so interested, and enthusiastic, about the man, and his work, makes the man, and his work come alive in ways words on a computer screen can't.
I hope to be able to attend Part 2 of David's presentation, next month.
BTW, David is also Director of Sonatasia, an effort to showcase music, via presentation in private homes, and other nontraditional venues.
Learn more here: A Mad Macedonian at the Opera
(Thanks to Deborah DeBilzan for 3 of the photos included in this post!)
****UPDATE - 1/26/12****
Humble Thanks for the kind words, and encouragement to:
Deborah DeBilzan - Gallery Director: On Facebook - "Check this out! Thanks, Kiril for the great write up."
David Parker - Via E-mail: "Great blog post you wrote, Kiril...thanks! Good pictures too."