now that my schedule has calmed down a little bit i’ve been able to start doing the ‘i live in l.a but i’m still a tourist’ things that i’ve wanted to do for a while now.
today my ‘i live in l.a but i’m still a tourist' agenda involved going to the architecture and design museum on wilshire to see the 'unbuilt los angeles' exhibit. it's a remarkable exhibit for a lot of reasons.
one of those reasons is, of course, that a lot of what had been planned for l.a was idealistic and kind of random and, in some cases, deeply flawed (like the idea of extending the 10 freeway out into the ocean in front of santa monica and malibu). but it’s also remarkable, and sad, in that a lot of the grand and amazing and inspired designs and plans that would’ve made l.a a much better place (like, say, more municipal parks and an amazing subway system) were killed off before they could even be fully considered (the frederick law olmstead plan for an amazing inter-connected urban park system hadn’t even been seen publicly after the chamber of commerce killed it off almost a century ago).
the third thing that makes it remarkable is that some of these plans and buildings could still be fairly easily built and realized.
the one that really caught my eye was john lauthner’s proposed griffith park nature center building. to wit:
- the a&d museum have all the plans (including soils reports..)
- the land is currently empty
- it’s not a very expensive project
so maybe we could all rally together to get the lautner griffith park nature center built because:
- it’s great architecture
- john lautner is now rightfully seen as the patron saint of l.a architecture and this would be a fitting tribute to him
- it could remind people that it’s still possible to design and build great public buildings
just a thought. but a practicable thought. anyway, here’s hoping.
i ran into someone at sage in echo park the other night and they asked me, ‘i know you have your studio in your lautner house, but what does it look like?’ so… here’s my studio.
i know, it’s small and underwhelming (just like some musician architectural bloggers i know). but i’m including it because:
- it’s where i work
- it was challenging building a small personal recording studio in a lautner bedroom. the challenge was to respect and not compromise or damage lautner’s paneling and original millwork. (also, to be honest, some of the wood in the lautner house was in REALLY bad shape, so we had to go out and try to replace the damaged wood with newly stained wood that matched lautner’s original work. it was challenging.).
- i’m putting out a new record in the autumn and i thought i’d put up some pictures of where i work.
(and, a caveat: in taking/posting these pictures i’ve learned: it’s hard to take beautiful and artistic photos of a small bedroom studio… so, mea culpa).
ok, basically: i’m a bedroom musician. my first studio back when i was 18 years old and had a tascam 4 track was in my bedroom (eventually a basement, but it started in my bedroom). then i moved to an abandoned factory and my studio WAS my bedroom. then i moved to a slightly less abandoned factory and once again my studio was my bedroom. then i renovated a small loft in manhattan and put my studio in the bedroom and decided to sleep in a closet.
yes, glamorous and true. the bedroom in my loft in nyc is soundproofed and has good air conditioning, so that’s where i put my studio. and the closet in my loft in nyc is kind of cozy, so that’s where i sleep. and now i have my studio in a bedroom in los angeles. granted it’s a bedroom in a very interesting john lautner guest house, but it’s still a little bedroom.
many of my friends have HUGE GIGANTIC AMAZING STUDIOS. but i’m just one little guy, so why would i need A HUGE GIGANTIC AMAZING STUDIO? plus i like working in small spaces (maybe i was a monk in a past life. or, given my veganism and sobriety, maybe i’m a monk in my current life. or maybe i’m just little and dull).
so, architecture. a beautiful but crumbly john lautner bedroom that we turned into a small one person recording studio (oh, p.s-i apologize for not tidying up for the pictures, but this is architectural blogging verite). trying to make it efficient and practical and sonically sound (no pun intended) while respecting all of lautner’s original work and detailing was, as i mentioned, the interesting and challenging part of the renovation. and now that it’s renovated and nice and small and functional it’s where i work on music and where i made/recorded/wrote all of the music for ‘innocents’, my next record.
oh: much less glamorously… i keep my drums in the basement. maybe someday i’ll take pictures of my drums in the basement but i can almost guarantee that no one wants/needs to see a picture of a basement filled with drums and microphones.
and oh, i’m off to tahoe and nyc and canada for a few weeks, so my architectural updates won’t involve l.a for a little while.
p.s any fans of musical gear will notice that 99% of my musical equipment is kind of old and broken down. for some reason i really love old and broken down musical equipment (thank you ebay). especially as i try to make music that has a quality of vulnerability it just makes sense to use broken down equipment that also has a quality of vulnerability. or so i believe. plus old equipment smells nice.
p.s.s i also have really good alarm systems at my house, so just because i’m going away doesn’t mean anyone will be able to break into my house… or, rather, you could break in, but THE LAW would be here real quick. so, no ‘bling ring’ (or ‘analogue drum machine ring’) will be happening here, i’m guessing.
ok, i’m a little bit ashamed.
see, the other night i was invited to john lautner’s sheats-goldstein house. and, unfortunately, i didn’t bring my good camera. mea culpa.
so, unfortunately, i couldn’t take pictures worthy of such a strange and beautiful and iconic house.
but i took pictures. not great pictures. but pictures.
i mean, the truth is that it’s a house/property that’s been documented thousands of times, usually by photographers with good cameras and the time to do the property justice.
i was at a party, it was crowded, and i basically had an old point and shoot digital camera.
but enough excuses, here are some pictures of the sheats-goldstein house, including the new tennis court which actually seems more like a landing pad for benign alien space ships.
ps-you could always do a google image search of ‘sheats goldstein house’ to see daytime pictures of the house as taken with a good camera..
when i moved to l.a a couple of years ago i moved into a strange and wonderful old (by l.a standards) house from 1927, but in moving to l.a i also inherited a john lautner guest house from 1962.
so: here are some pictures of my john lautner guest house, which i currently use as my office and studio (studio pictures aren’t include here because, well, as nice as it is it just looks like a studio).
i don’t know how the owner of the house in 1962 was able to talk john lautner into building a guest house on the property.
maybe they were friends?
maybe john lautner was bored and needed some work?
i have no idea.
but i do know that i’m a lucky architecture nerd to be able to commute (25 yards) to my odd little john lautner guest house every morning (oh, i hope it doesn’t sound like i’m bragging. i mean, i guess i am, sort of. but i’m more just sharing my excitement at being able to go to work in a john lautner house every morning).
one of my favorite things about the house is lautner’s use of the greenstone. i don’t even know what greenstone is. but he used a lot of it in building the house, both inside and out. i also love that most of the house is clad in glass. although this is confusing to some people and dogs, as i’ve had a few instances where both people and dogs have stumbled into the glass. luckily neither person nor dog nor glass have been injured.
oh, a caveat/admission: i made one slight change…the original staircase going up to the roof had been painted brown at some point, so i removed the original brown painted fiberglass and put in translucent fiberglass in a steel frame. this way the light comes in and it generally looks nicer than brown painted fiberglass. i work under the assumption that lautner wouldn’t mind.