John Lautner, FAIA (1911-1994)
John Lautner was one of the most important American architects of the twentieth century, and perhaps one of the most misunderstood. His career spanned fifty-five years and left an indelible mark on the built environment of Southern California.
Lautner was born in 1911 and raised in Marquette, Michigan. His remarkable natural surroundings made a deep and lifelong impression. He had his first building experience at the age of twelve, when he helped his father construct a chalet designed by his mother.
He earned a degree in English from what is now Northern Michigan University, whose only architecture class at the time was a history survey. After reading Frank Lloyd Wright’s autobiography, Lautner applied to Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin. He served from 1933 to 1939 as one of Wright’s original Taliesin Fellows.
Lautner adopted Wright’s philosophy of “organic architecture,” which promotes harmony between man and nature by exploring the interplay of people, spaces, and the natural and built environments.