Harpel Guesthouse 

John Lautner, 1958
Los Angeles
2013-2019











Harpel II is the realization on the unbuilt guesthouse designed by John Lautner in 1958. The design for the guesthouse is deceptively simple: a cylindrical composition of semi-circular walls of concrete, concrete block and glass, nest in each other and are surmounted by a circular roof, supported on extremely slender columns. By off-setting the walls to each other, tilting the concrete wall below ground outwards and the concrete block wall above ground inwards (to follow the slope of the topography) a building of great spatial complexity is created - a shell, or cave, perched on the hill and open to the views.


Other than minor revisions, the project seeks to faithfully complete a rare and unbuilt design by John Lautner. Revisions had to be made to the structure - changing the roof construction to an all-steel system and introducing concrete shear walls within the building - to respond to seismic codes more restrictive now than 50 years ago. Revisions also had to be made to observe stricter energy-use codes.



John Lautner papers, 1929-2002, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2007.M.13.