Sheats-Goldstein Residence By John Lautner: A 1960’s Modernist Masterpiece

One of my absolute favorite homes designed by one of my absolute favorite architects… Sheats-Goldstein Residence is a house designed and built between 1961 and 1963 by American architect John Lautner (protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright) in Beverly Hills, California.

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Conceived first from the inside and then to the outside, the house was designed and built into the sandstone ledge of a Los Angeles hillside — a cave-like environment opening to embrace nature and offer a stunning view.

The house is an example of American Organic Architecture in that it acts as an extension of the natural environment and of the individual for whom it was built, even while, in Lautner fashion, it derives its form from rectilinear geometry.

Due to its unique and memorable impression, the house has been featured in several movies, including Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Bandits, and The Big Lebowski.

The home was originally built for Helen and Paul Sheats and their five children. Helen, an artist, and Paul a doctor, commissioned Lautner for a previous project known as Sheats Apartments located in West LA adjacent to UCLA (originally built 1949).

James Goldstein, a man with as much striking character as the house itself, purchased the residence in 1972, in a state of significant disrepair. The son of a Milwaukee department store owner, Goldstein is a multi-millionaire “NBA superfan” who attends over one hundred NBA games each season. Goldstein refuses to disclose both his net worth and how he made his fortune — though the Wall Street Journal speculated that Goldstein made billions in real estate (notably Century City in Los Angeles). When asked, he typically responds, “Let’s just say I had some investments that worked out pretty well.”

Goldstein commissioned John Lautner to work on the transformation of the house; a series of remodelings that would encompass the entire house over a period of more than two decades. Goldstein worked with Lautner until the architect’s death in 1994 on what they called “perfecting the house.” Goldstein continues to work collaboratively with architect Duncan Nicholson on new projects with advanced technology that enhance Lautner’s original vision.

The Sheats Goldstein Residence is one of the best known examples of John Lautner’s work. Prolific Lautner designed not only the house, but the interiors, windows, lighting, rugs, furniture, and operable features. The house is extensively detailed, and the range of the architect’s work is visible through the different stages of the re-mastering. All of the furnishings enhance the house and completely relate to the aesthetic of its varied forms and the function of the construct as a whole.

The living room features open space that carries the interior into the outdoors, erasing the distinction between the interior and exterior. The expansive coffered ceiling living room is pierced by drinking glass skylights in the coffers (750 skylights in all). The home uses cross ventilation for cooling as there is no air conditioning, given the temperate climate of Southern California. The floors are radiant heated with copper pipes that also warm the pool. Exterior covered pathways lead to the guest bedrooms and the master bedroom.

(Fantastic night photos with Mr. Goldstein in the background and wearing a bright red leather jacket may be seen at the close of the images)

Fantastic night images with Mr. Goldstein seen in red leather jacket in several:



11 responses to “Sheats-Goldstein Residence By John Lautner: A 1960’s Modernist Masterpiece

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