Many people will recognize it as the home of Jackie Treehorn, the Malibu hustler and pornographer from The Big Lebowski. But Los Angeles residents know better. In addition to starring as a fictional porn pad, the Sheats-Goldstein House is a piece of L.A. architectural history.
Now, there are plans in place to preserve the Sheats-Goldstein House forever. The Los Angeles Times reports that the house, which was designed by John Lautner in 1963, will be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Christopher Hawthorne, an architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, describes Lautner as a “Frank Lloyd Wright disciple, iconoclast, and reluctant Angeleno.” The house itself, which is located in Beverly Crest, just above Beverly Hills, could not be more assertively L.A.
That’s not just, like, my opinion, man. "For me, it ranks as one of the most important houses in all of L.A.," Michael Govan, the director of the museum, told Hawthorne.
It’s great news for LACMA, which will eventually be used for fundraisers, exhibits, and other programming. (James F. Goldstein, the owner who restored the home, still lives in it.) It’s also timely news: Like many museums today, LACMA is boosting its collection of and presence in the world of architecture. Stephanie Barron, senior curator for LACMA, just assembled a beefy retrospective of the work of Frank Gehry. This modernist home is the first such structure to enter into the museum’s permanent collection.
Hawthorne dives into the history of the Sheats-Goldstein House—read his story here—and several of the complexities in preserving it.
For the most part, the important local examples of modern residential architecture that have been preserved as house museums, such as the Eames House in the Pacific Palisades or the Schindler House on Kings Road in West Hollywood, are fixed and unchanging examples of a particular design era.
Goldstein's house is something different, an example of the modern residence in flux. It is as much a monument to Goldstein's patronage as Lautner's architecture; how much say, if any, LACMA will have in updates to the house while he is living is among the trickier questions raised by the gift.
Lautner may not have cared for Los Angeles. But he built an important part of it that will continue contributing to L.A. history for years to come.