You've heard this logic before: "it looks like this building was designed specifically for this one photograph."
The ability of new architecture to speak across digital platforms may be the single most important, and unspoken, driver of popular architectural practice today. Will this get re-blogged? How will it look on [popular design website]? The wide-angle shot, the lens flare, and the foggy pastel gradient all signal this photo-centric epoch.
Ironically, an architect who was known for his attention to the tactile and experiential -- John Lautner -- may have unwillingly been the first superstar of image-based architecture. The legendary architect would have been 100 this Saturday, and though he may not have ever imagined it, his work has taken on life as a location for the aspirational image -- through fashion shoots, endless student tours, and movies.
Devendra Banhart’s recent campaign for eyeglass company Oliver Peoples had Banhart and his girlfriend in the Rainbow House, doing a bunch of weirdly private stuff, like reading in their underwear and smelling each other's feet (gross).
Image (c) Scott Santoro.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous in film and fashion campaigns, the Sheats Goldstein House served as a set for The Big Leboswki and Charlie's Angels - not to mention countless print advertisements.
The Elrod House, 1968.
Peep the Gucci Ad on the Elrod House's patio below, featuring a model on what seems to be a horse hair settee. Diamonds Are Forever, the James Bond movie, was also filmed at the house.
Diamonds Are Forever screenshots, via Artect.
The Chemosphere, 1960.
Seen in Julius Shulman's iconic photograph above, the Chemosphere actually has a life of its own, as the backdrop for countless pieces of film, comic art, and photography. It's also been the scene of some very serious parties - check out Benedikt Taschen and his crew below.
Drew Barrymore on the set of Charlie's Angels.
Chemosphere illustration by J.H. Williams III from Warrenellis.com, via Artect.
Benedikt Taschen, Billy Wilder, Helmut Newton at the house in 1999.
One of Lautner's houses that isn't in the vicinity of LA, the Acapulco home was immortalized by Julius Shulman:
Happy Birthday, Mr. Lautner. Rest assured, your work is remembered not only through pop culture, but through a veritable army of architects who worship your (very tangible) built legacy!
John Lautner with Joanne Segel in Segel Residence; photo by Carla Larissa Fallberg.