2018: Odyssey in Los Angeles
Silvertop, one of John Lautner’s most futuristic residential projects. A modernist masterpiece that has been renovated with care and respect. And also a touch of audacity It is called Silvertop and is one of the masterpieces by modernist architect John Lautner. The first owner was tycoon Kenneth Reiner, who in 1956 commissioned Lautner to realise his dream, contributing to the project with his inventive ability and technological expertise, creating futuristic gadgets and very advanced electrical and hydraulic systems which, combined with
Lautner’s incredible sense of light and form, resulted in one of the most innovative structures in existence. Reiner was forced to sell the house before it was finished: it was purchased by the Burchill couple, who made several changes to the original vision. In 2014, forty years later, Jacklyn Burchill put the house back on the market. It went to music executive Luke Wood, who hired Barbara Bestor, an eminent figure from the Californian ‘ new modernists’, for the renovations. “The main challenge,” explains Bestor, “was to tactfully bring the 21st century into this incredible structure and make it a warmer home for family life.” For the first time, Lautner experimented with his characteristic sculptural use of monolithic cement, built curved glass walls that opened fully onto terraces and gardens, false ceilings to conceal mechanical or electrical systems and much more. Bestor was entrusted with the difficult task of transforming this space- odyssey- like engineering into contemporary functionality, modernising, in the spirit of the original design, what had been altered in the 1970s and completing some elements that had never been finished. Bestor’s ‘ discreet insertions’ include vertically- oriented cypress panels in the kitchen, the ‘ open air’ ensuite for the bedroom with retractable glass panels, the enlargement of the living room terrace. And finally, the construction of Lautner’s “hawk’s nest”: a watchtower designed but not yet completed.