Tag Archives: modernist

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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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 Massive Masterpiece

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Bob Hope’s huge and famous hill-top house is located in Palm Springs Southridge mountain area, overlooking Palm Springs. The 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) — situated close to the also Lautner-designed Elrod Residence in Palm Springs — features a massive undulating triangular roof, pierced by a large circular central light shaft, six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms.

See interior photos here.

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Mr. Hope died in 2003 at the age of 100; Mrs. Hope died in 2011 at 102. Thus, Hope’s architectural treasure was placed on the market in late February 2013 for $50 million.

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In addition to the bedrooms and numerous bathrooms, plus the spacious living and dining rooms, the massive residence also features a spa, which houses a pool, a hot tub and an exercise area. Outdoor spaces include a pool, pond, tennis court, putting green, and outdoor terrace with massive fireplace. The modernist structure is built of concrete and glass, with an undulating copper roof that rises to an open circle at its center.

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The original ’73 house was destroyed by fire during construction. Bob and Dolores Hope interfered extensively in the second design, with the result that Lautner eventually distanced himself from the project. Although not well-known and rarely available for public viewing (this modern masterpiece is located within a gated community) it is one of the largest and most visually striking of Lautner’s domestic designs. The estate dominates a corner lot with sweeping views of the entire Coachella Valley. No pictures of the home’s interior have ever been published since the Hopes moved in (1979).

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The home was used primarily as a second residence for the Hope family and was the place where they entertained most often, inviting friends such as Tony Bennett and Glen Campbell to enjoy the views from the house. It can accommodate as many as 300 guests for dinner under an enormous covered terrace.

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Each January for many years, the family threw a huge dinner party to mark the end of the Bob Hope Classic golf tournament, now called the Humana Challenge. “That was sort of a highlight of the desert social calendar,” said Linda Hope, a daughter of the couple.

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A big buffet would be laid out on the terraced patio, including Mrs. Hope’s famous antipasto salad, which she insisted on mixing herself, adding the vinegar and oil by eye. A clear tent was put up on part of the terrace to keep out the cold while still allowing guests to take in the spectacular nighttime view. “The whole desert was at your feet,” Linda Hope said.

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Lautner’s Architectural Plan For The Hope Residence

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Stunning Black & White Architectural Highlights

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The Hope Estate – Toluca Lake

In addition to their desert getaway the Hope’s also maintained a five-plus acre spread in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles with a 14,876 square foot main house and several additional outbuildings joined by various driveways and parking areas.

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Bob & Delores Hope

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