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John Chuckman

COMMENT TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN WITH PHOTOS OF GOLDSTEIN HOUSE DONATED AS A MUSEUM

 

The house has some dramatic perspectives, but I think, considering all the views, it is a rather sterile environment.

I love good modern architecture, but this house by John Lautner is a showboat effort which actually fails as a place to live.

There are many details which might look impressive on first glance but actually display poor design in the true, deep sense of that word.

The clearest examples are its impossible benches and seats. I can’t tell from photos whether they are made of polished concrete or metal, but they are covered by bright custom cushions.

Those benches are not only uninviting as places to sit – which is opposite of what a seat should be – I can guarantee with their very low backs, extremely rigid structure, and minimal cushions, they are uncomfortable to almost anyone after a short time.

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Response to a comment by another reader:

Why would being an architect make any difference in appreciating architecture?

Seems to me, what you are saying is much like saying you have to be a painter to go to an art gallery, which is self-obviously ridiculous.

Le Corbusier, one of the most original and gifted architects of the last century, said a house was a machine for living, and while that’s a bit absolute, it captures an important truth.

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Response to a comment from a reader:

“Actually I was thinking of North by Northwest, the glass house mounted on the rock frame that Cary Grant had to shinny up.”

 

One of my favorite Hitchcock films.

Oh, now there was a great house, great modern design, including a sumptuous sense of natural materials.

Although, you may know that it was a set built for the movie and doesn’t exist. I was disappointed to learn that.

 

 

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