Tag Archives: architecture

Reiner-Burchill Residence — SILVERTOP — Lautner’s Domestic Spaceship for Modern Terrestrials

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2138 Micheltorena St, Silver Lake 90039 – “The Reiner-Burchill Residence” (Silvertop), John Lautner, architect, Construction: 1956-1976 – Built for Ken Reiner, Sold 1974 to The Burchills, For Sale 2014 at $7,500,000

Silvertop — the Reiner-Burchill Residence — was originally commissioned in 1956 by Kenneth Reiner, an entrepreneur who became wealthy with industrial designs for a spring-loaded ladies hair clip and a self-locking lightweight aircraft nut. “Silvertop” is named for its expansive concrete domed ceiling over the living area, which seems to rest on walls of glass, as it peers down upon the Silver Lake Reservoir.

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Focused on technology and engineering, Reiner and Lautner made excellent collaborators. The two set out to accomplish an advanced home design, featuring faucet-less sinks that automatically filled with water, a dining table with a hydraulic pedestal that lowered for cocktails and elevated for meals, a system for heating and cooling that could not be seen or heard (Reiner wanted to feel only the ambient temperatures rise or fall), controls for lights and appliances that were discreetly set into walls and doors jambs, lights that pivot into the ceiling, and electrically-controlled skylights.

Lautner built such novel innovations into the home specifically according to Reiner’s specifications; in the event that the equipment didn’t exist to meet those specifications, Reiner would design, engineer, and manufacturer the necessary parts in his own factory for Lautner.

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The two men brought in master structural engineer, Eugene Birnbaum to execute the challenging build with a cantilevered driveway up to the residence and a massive concrete domed ceiling over walls of glass that are slotted into concrete. The City of Los Angeles’ building codes couldn’t keep up with Lautner and Reiner, and the city denied permits for the cantilevered drive… until both men created irrefutable engineering plans and constructed a demonstration project.

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The home was originally budgeted at $75,000, but rose to $1,000,000 after many refinements of the design throughout its build. Unfortunately, Reiner never lived in his wondrous home. Due to a lawsuit with his business partner and a divorce, Reiner filed bankruptcy and lost the nearly finished house. The project then sat for several years, while Reiner moved to Long Beach. Associates said the pragmatic Reiner never looked back with regret.

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Dr. Philip and Jacklyn Burchill bought the home in 1974. The Burchill’s turned to Lautner to complete the home. The Reiner-Burchill Residence was finally realized in 1976, when the Burchill’s became live-in stewards of the architectural phenomenon until 2014. Mrs. Burchill has decided to sell the home she has maintained with stewardship toward authenticity for 40 years.

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The Reiner-Burchill Residence is located at 2138 Micheltorena St in the Moreno Highlands area of Silver Lake and is being offered for $7,500,000.

The 3 bedroom and 4 bathroom design of the main house is made up of a series of interlocking circles, half-circles and ellipsis, creating geometric pattern for which Lautner was known. The infinity pool, a first of its kind, mimics the shape of the roof line. With a massive, arched concrete roof over the living area, the spacious 4,721 of interior living space with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, in proportion to the site on which it is built. “Silvertop” situates on 1.26 acres, comprised of six lots, on the crest of a hill. The home is approached by vehicle up one side of the hill and is exited down the other side of the hill via the cantilevered curved concrete driveway that wraps around a circular guest house, called the Round House, which contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a photography darkroom.

The home consists of three general areas including the living area, sleeping quarters and guest house. From the entry, one passes through an atrium filled with plants and before entering into the expansive light-filled open living space. The sleeping quarters are located somewhat perpendicular to the living area as it bows away from the central living area.

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Strange Yet Familiar — House VDV

At once familiar and strange, this single family home — House VDV by Graux & Baeyens Architects — is located just outside the town of Ghent, in Destelbergen, Belgium. The land is part of a site where once stood a castle destroyed in WWII. Part of the surrounding wall remains standing and is a silent reminder of this history.

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Sculptor’s Outstanding Mid-Century-Modern Exemplar Awaits in Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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Mid-Century architectural exemplar in Beverly Hills recently came on the market and was designed by sculptor Morris Levine as his personal residence in 1964. According to a 2006 LA Times article, Levine received no formal architectural training, yet designed “at least half a dozen apartment buildings in Southern California,” as well as two churches on an island in the South Pacific where he was stationed during World War II.

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The artist lived for forty years in his custom-built Beverly Hills home and passed away in 2004 at age 90. Set on a large, private lot, this hidden 3,480-square-foot retreat lists many original details including terrazzo floors, milled cedar ceilings and walls, custom storage, an open family room, 4 Bedrooms, 4 baths, plus a home office (or 5th bedroom) with a separate entrance, with a large, solar-heated swimmer’s pool, and a landscaped back yard. Great location convenient to downtown Beverly Hills and the Valley. It’s a museum-quality home for the architectural enthusiast.

Want it? $3.25 million.

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Bob Hope Residence, Palm Springs — A John Lautner Masterpiece (Revisited)

In March last year, I posted about Bob Hope’s huge and famous hill-top house located in Palm Springs Southridge mountain area, overlooking Palm Springs. The Hopes were known for their lavish parties with hundreds of attendees, but even so, they never allowed interior photos to be published, as this was their private enclave.

Hope’s daughter is now liquidating the estate, and this nearly 18,000 sq ft (add nearly 5k more sq ft for terraces and outdoor living space) John Lautner-designed Bob and Dolores Hope Residence (1973) went on market for sale… at $50 million… and was recently reduced in price to $34 million.

As part of the selling process, a few shots of the interior were published in the informational brochure. So, now we get to see just a bit…

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Ettley Residence — Modernism Taken To Its Beautiful Conclusion

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The Ettley residence, in Los Angeles CA, is a study in solid-void relationships. The design is an example I often cite as the proper answer to modernism’s logical conclusion, as opposed to the vapid white box of too many designers and architects. For while the design does eliminate superfluous elements of “styling” and ornamentation, this home deftly blends material, texture, and color to stimulate visually and avoid the dullsville of the blank white facade.

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The Aluminum and wood enclosure/awning over the blue glass — appearing like blocks of frozen blue Pacific ocean — juxtapose against the solid wood boxes, giving an appearance of a modern seaside sculpture. Situated a few blocks from the ocean, the up-sloping lot provides commanding views of the water while providing a cityscape foreground to the setting. The master suite located at the mid level front has a glass floor seating area that overlooks a reflecting pond and garden below.

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A vertical bamboo garden is surrounded by horizontal wood slats continuing up through the structure and providing privacy to the master and the main living spaces at the top level.

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Studio 9one2 has become known for it’s particularly interesting staircases, with the majority of beach houses in the LA area designed as inverted plans with the living spaces at the top level in order to achieve the best ocean views. As a result, both visitors and occupants alike utilize the stair system quite often. Studio 9one2 always strives to make those normally mundane trips into sculptural experiences. This home with its “Esher-esque” stairs and glass floor landings continues their trend.

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Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort — The Fun Never Stops For China’s Architectural Growth


China has added another spectacle to their already impressive list of amazingly unique structures. In August, the Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort joined the likes of the world’s largest building (complete with an artificial sun), the New Century Global Center.

This 27-story structure that lies on Taihu Lake between Nanjing and Shanghai was conceived by the architect Ma Yansong. The resort is lavishly designed — covered in all different types of jade and the lobby ceiling is decorated with 20,000 Swarovski and European natural crystal lamps that create a wave-like formation.

The hotel is actually a full oval — two levels underground connect the visible horseshoe shape. According to the resort’s website, it offers 321 guest rooms, including 44 suites and 39 villas, all with private balconies.

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Wall House By FARM Architects

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Architects: FARM
Location: Singapore
Team: Tiah Nan Chyuan, Lee Hui Lian (), Kurjanto Slamet (KD Architects)
Collaborators: KD Architects, Locus Associates with Base6 and Terre Pte Ltd
Area: 1,116 sqm
Year: 2013

This project is actually two houses in one – similar looking, yet independent and coming together to form a coherent whole. The two blocks sit on a sprawling piece of land, belonging to the retired parents and one of their children.

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