John Lautner, Chemosphere / Malin Residence, 1960, LA

After we visited the highlight of our trip the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, we went on our way to visit another famous building of Lautner The Chemosphere. It reminded us of a flying saucer and was visible to the naked eye from afar and we could see it from the Mulholland Drive. We parked our vehicles on the lower level of the Torreyson Drive and walked up to have a better view of The Chemosphere. Unfortunately we did not get a reply from the owner Benedict Taschen to visit the inside of the house, so we could only view it from the outside.

The in 1960 built dwelling still distinguished itself from the surrounding dwellings. It seems like it sits enthroned with complete peace and amenity above Los Angeles. On one side we were lucky that everything was green on the other side the lush green vegetation obstructed the view of the pillar and the view of the platform, which is located under the octagonal ground plan, as well as of the small cable car that leads to the entrance of the building.

Despite the exclusive architecture of the building it blends into it‘s environment. Through the previous visit to the Sheats-Goldstein Residence I became a fuller understanding of Lautners architecture and his genius, which until then i only knew from theory. Because of that I could visualise the inner space even so I could only see it from afar.

It seems to me that Lautner dwellings integrate their surroundings but still distinguished them from the outer space through the materials that he used. He created structures in which he materialises space and room and makes it noticeable for the inhabitants. In other words it is what is „Between“ what Lautner manifests in his architecture: that being between inside and outside that harmonise at the same time, the connection between heaven and earth and the play of opaque and translucent architecture. So is the Chemosphere an imposing building not bound by time and which exists without comparison.



Mona El Amir

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