Between Heaven & Earth — Arango-Marbrisa House By John Lautner

“Lautner’s dwellings took on dramatically new and varied shapes, as he moved toward the central theme of his career — how to use architecture to sublimate the domestic, and to domesticate the sublime,” states Nicholas Olsberg.

John Lautner Arango House / Casa Marbrisa: a modern visionary house! The design of John Lautner’s Arango House is inspired by the natural features of the site, the sense of space, ocean and sky.

Click Images For Larger Views

Credit many of these photos: Jan-Richard Kikkert

This 1973 icon of mid-century modern, organic architecture is located in Acapulco Mexico and boasts a floor space of 25,000.00 square feet. The house perches on a very steep site overlooking Acapulco Bay. The upper floor, serving as the main living and entertainment area, composes a large open terrace surrounded by a cantilevered moat/railing pool, wide and deep enough to allow for swimming, that seems to overflow into the ocean below, inspiring a feeling of infinite space.

The curved, sloping concrete roof anchors into the hill at one end, then sweeps over the house and the driveway and returns to the hill at the opposite end. The roof rides low on the hill side and high on the Bay side, allowing an encompassing view of the sky and the ocean. The enclosed family room and bedrooms situated on the lower floor, facing the bay, provide elevated landscape with a continuous planter-railing along the edge of the decks.

“When I first visited the site,” says Lautner, “I got the idea to build a large, open terrace so that all you had was the beauty of the Acapulco Bay and the sky and the mountains. You don’t feel you’re in a building at all. You’re out in space. With the beauty of nature.”

Just viewing the house inspires. The curved lines provide the house a fluid feel, like the water that runs along the edges of the terrace or the clouds that embrace it, yet the dominant impression is one of boldness.

This house is the rarest of residencies: a house that is of itself, the environment, and the world expanding beyond… a house with few precursors and few progeny — a house with integrity. And therein lies its boldness, its originality, and its beauty.

My first thought upon seeing it was, “I want my life to be like that.” Bold and fluid. Calm and inspiring. It is a house of means above most and elevated physically above, while open and embracing. The building has a clear purpose, and every part of it works towards that end — without exception, without shame.

The Arango House is more than just an artistic cure for a feeling of aimlessness or of ordinary existence. It is at once both a relaxant and a stimulant — a work of art that not only compels relaxation of mind and spirit but also inspires to live with more passion and to pursue creatively with zeal.


7 responses to “Between Heaven & Earth — Arango-Marbrisa House By John Lautner

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