Frank Lloyd Wright's George Sturges House in Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, 1939
The George Sturges House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 -more than a decade after his concrete textile block houses of the 1920's. The Sturges House symbolizes America's then-fascination with speed and vessels of mass transportation. It looks to be in motion, and has been compared to a fast moving ship. The house is dramatically situated on its site, with a massive, cantilevered balcony soaring over the hillside.
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the George Sturges House shortly after he designed what is perhaps his most well known house, Fallingwater, in 1935-1937. Though Fallingwater certainly has more dramatic surroundings, the cantilevering concept is one that Wright mastered in many of his projects, the Sturges House included. The wooden balcony extends from a firmly rooted base of brick, with brick also seen rising in masses, accenting the top of the house. The horizontal wooden siding, sometimes board and batten, expresses a horizontal nature reminiscent of Wright's Prairie period of the early 20th Century. A wooden trellis hanging over the balcony accentuates the horizontality. The interior of the Sturges House is characterized with redwood walls and exposed redwood beams in the ceiling that give it somewhat of a Crafstman feel. After Sturges moved into the house, it was plagued with leaks from the wooden roof and he later installed rain funnels.
Frank Lloyd Wright hired John Lautner to supervise the construction of the George Sturges House. Lautner was just beginning to establish a name for himself in Los Angeles as a serious architect, and he built his own home there the same year. Lautner was an apprentice of Wright's and studied under him at the Taliesin Fellowship, Frank Lloyd Wright's school of architecture at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, from 1933 through the end of the decade. Lautner and Wright continued a professional relationship into the 1940's, with Lautner assisting Wright with a remodel of the Ennis House, and Wright's residential project for Arch Oboler in 1941. Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner's association ended by the mid 1940's when Lautner had fully established himself, though he continued to have much praise and admiration for Wright and carried on Wright's concept of organic architecture in his own work.