Architecture Student Tour at Sheats-Goldstein Residence by Kristopher Conner

 Kent State Architecture Students photo credit Jon Yoder

Kent State Architecture Students photo credit Jon Yoder

As part of our gratifying preservation and restoration work at the Sheats-Goldstein residence (built in 1963 and designed by architect, John Lautner) we occasionally have the honor to give tours of the historically significant home to architecture and design students. The home is a prime example of organic modern architecture: designed from the existing site and for the individual family.  When showing the house there is no need to spend lengthy amounts of time using academic language to embellish this architectural icon.  As students are able to see it for themselves the architecture does the talking. The entrance sequence, with its intimate scale and natural flow, draws from Lautner’s apprenticeship under Frank Lloyd Wright.  But as the low wood ceilings transition to the rising triangulated concrete coffered roof in the living room, the expansive view opens up with a soaring effect and the dynamic form thrusts the occupant's gaze out into the city beyond.


The owner, James “Jim” Goldstein, fell in love with this home when he first saw it and quickly purchased it in 1972.  He understood the brilliance of Lautner’s intention and re-hired the architect to improve the home in a series of renovations that would eliminate all framed glass and bring the house to its full potential: pushing concrete and glass to the very essence of their material capabilities.

 Club James photo credit Jon Yoder

Club James photo credit Jon Yoder

John Lautner passed away in 1994, but the owner continued to work on the property and home with former Lautner associate Duncan Nicholson. It was under Nicholson that the artist James Turrell's Skyspace "Above Horizon" was realized, as well as extensive landscape improvements and an entertainment complex ("Club James") adjacent to the home was begun.  In early 2015 Duncan Nicholson passed away and Jim Goldstein hired former Nicholson project architects Kris Conner and James Perry, who had formed their own firm, Conner & Perry Architects to further the project.  It was recently announced that Goldstein will be gifting the home to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). The property is the first in what the museum hopes will become a premier collection of the renowned modern residential architecture for which Los Angeles has become famous.

 Upper Tennis Court Terrace Kent State Students photo credit Jon Yoder

Upper Tennis Court Terrace Kent State Students photo credit Jon Yoder

One of the main goals of owner James Goldstein's gift to LACMA is that the home might inspire young architects to question the existing norms of what modern architecture is today and what it can be in the future.  We recently took architecture students from Kent State through the home and, as always, we get to enjoy their reactions as they transition from one space to the next.  It is our hope that many aspiring architects and enthusiasts for generations to come will have the opportunity to experience the epiphany that is the Goldstein Estate.

The Facebook Group John Lautner: The Real Thing, in conjunction with the John Lautner Foundation, is putting together an upcoming tour on July 28th, 2018.  Tickets here.

New Conceptual Designs for a House in Culver City by Kristopher Conner

These are three schematic designs for a complete renovation to a one story single-family residence in Culver City for a young family. The unique lot is pie shaped opening towards the back to an existing pool and outdoor space. 

Schematic 1:

The first design provides a cantilevered covered parking in the front of the building. The design also provides a completely open living, dining, and kitchen on the first floor that flows out to the backyard. The bedrooms are located above on the second floor and the master bedroom includes a deck. The bedrooms also open to a hallway seating area that provides a personal desk for each of the children around the double volume living space.  

Schematic 2:

In the second design you enter into the double volume living space that opens out onto the backyard. The existing garage was converted to a granny flat ADU and the house uses the roof by converting it into an exterior deck for the upper floor. The pool was modified to include a baja shelf and integrated deck that flows from outside to inside with a covered trellis.

Schematic 3:

The third design kept the existing location of the garage and pool house completely separate from the new house design. This concept limited the structural modifications to 8 new structural supports and one new wall modification of the existing structure to provide a completely new second story addition and overall design for the existing home. 

James Goldstein Office Glass by Kristopher Conner

James Goldstein Office Glass

The design of the office and glass details were developed by Architect Duncan Nicholson working with Structural Engineer Andrew Nasser. The cantilevered glass canopy is secured with bolts at the header and has a custom triangular stainless steel fitting that secures the top and bottom glass panels that work together to support one another. The glass was installed by Brad Leslie of Giroux Glass the custom stainless steel hardware was fabricated by Breakform Design. During the installation Giroux Glass used a spider crane to manipulate the large panes of glass into place.

Spider Crane Glass Installation
Giroux Glass Installation

The finished space is a spectacular and unique office with a clear span opening to the view that cants outward allowing you step up and lean out toward the view. 

Goldstein Office Glass Detail

Goldstein Estate-LACMA in Apollo Magazine by Kristopher Conner


Conner & Perry Architects was recently mentioned in a well written and researched article in Apollo Magazine on the recent deal between the Goldstein Estate and LACMA.  We highly recommend reading it (see link here) for a better understanding of the history of the property and the larger implications of the museum's acquisition of this architectural icon.

What is Los Angeles good at, beyond movies? Yes, the city has made an underrated contribution to modern art, and yes, much of Western pop music has come out of Los Angeles (although often incubated elsewhere first) and hell, it even has a couple of competent sports teams. But where the city has been a bona fide global leader in the last 100 years is in the field of residential architecture . . .

. . . Lautner, who died in 1994, did not design Club James, as it is known, but Goldstein got the next best thing: Lautner’s protégé Duncan Nicholson. When Nicholson unexpectedly died last year, the project passed to the firm of Kristopher Conner and James Perry, who had, in turn, been mentored by Nicholson. Goldstein’s extension of his property is a direct homage to its original architect – what an art historian might call ‘School of Lautner’. But it is far from original.
— Jonathan Griffin, "Big Lebowski pad acquired by LACMA" Apollo Magazine, 27 April, 2016 (

Tennis Industry Magazine Award by Kristopher Conner

James Goldstein Tennis Court

The Tennis Industry Magazine awarded the Goldstein Tennis Court in 2015 "Outstanding Residential Tennis Facility-of-the-year" and in the most recent issue February 2016 they recognized the court as one of best of the winning projects.

Tennis Industry Award Best Tennis Courts

The history of the Goldstein Tennis Court begins with the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, originally designed and constructed by the renowned architect, John Lautner, in 1963 for the Sheats family, and was purchased by James Goldstein in 1972.  This unique home, built with a minimal material pallet of concrete, steel, wood, and glass, contains almost no right angles and is built into a hillside that overlooks a view stretching from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean.  Mr. Goldstein was so enamored by the house that he hired the original architect to remodel the home for years to come in an ongoing process they would call “perfecting the house.”

As the years progressed  Mr. Goldstein purchased the adjacent property and requested a design from Lautner for a tennis court, guest house, and reception building.  Lautner completed a schematic design for the project, but unfortunately passed away in 1994 before the working drawings could commence.  Duncan Nicholson, one of Lautner’s project architects, had worked on many aspects of the continuing renovation and construction of the original house, and stepped forward to continue the vision of both the architect and owner.  As the project was further developed, Mr. Goldstein requested additional programatic elements and a design for an office and entertainment facility below the tennis court was introduced.

 Goldstein Tennis Court in Esquire Magazine April 2015

Goldstein Tennis Court in Esquire Magazine April 2015

The tennis court is situated on a south facing slope, with a lush terraced garden on the northern uphill side.  The western end is enclosed by a concrete wall extending up from the office structure below that also serves as a return wall.  The eastern end will eventually be enclosed by the concrete structure of the Reception/Home Theater building.  To the south, in order to maximize the beauty of the view, the owner requested that a glass guardrail be built to the minimum allowable height, regardless of the inevitable loss of the occasional errant ball.  The result has been described as an “infinity” tennis court, with no visual barriers between the players and the dramatic surroundings.  The tennis court structure is a double post-tension slab with waterproofing in between that allows it to serve as the building’s roof. This structural system minimizes the number of required support columns which enables an open plan below with large spans and a continuous frameless glass enclosure along the south facade.  The columns penetrate deep into the bedrock supporting the massive structure that cantilevers out of the hillside. The tennis court's main structural slab thickness varies in depth from 30” at the columns to 8” at its edges; the resulting undulating surface is a functional necessity of the structure that also dramatically enhances the viewer’s experience in the rooms below as the ceiling rises up to the view beyond.

 Entertainment space below tennis court at dusk.

Entertainment space below tennis court at dusk.

The realization of the tennis court was a major milestone for the project and could not have been done without the dedication of owner James Goldstein, Architect Duncan Nicholson of Nicholson Architects, Structural Engineer Andrew Nasser of Omnispan Corporation, Contractor Bruce Ostermann and Site Foreman Harry Ernst of Ostermann Construction, Inc., Glazing Subcontractor Giroux Glass, Inc., and Tennis Court Contractor and Consultant Richard Zaino of Zaino Tennis Courts.

 Architect Duncan Nicholson talking with sub contractor during concrete pour of tennis court slab.

Architect Duncan Nicholson talking with sub contractor during concrete pour of tennis court slab.

Last year, on January 20th Architect Duncan Nicholson lost his life in a brief battle with cancer. It is a tragedy that he did not survive to see the completion of his greatest work.  The project continues under the care of his proteges, Kristopher Conner and James Perry of Conner & Perry Architects, Inc.

Goldstein Estate to be bequeathed to LACMA by Kristopher Conner

We are excited for today's official announcement that our client, Jim Goldstein, will be entrusting his estate, as well as a significant endowment for it's care, to LACMA.  LACMA is a cultural mainstay of Los Angeles and a worthy caretaker for one of America's architectural icons.

 Livingroom of the Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner (credit: LA Times)

Livingroom of the Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner (credit: LA Times)

See the link below to read the LA Times article covering the deal with a great description of the house, it's owner, and the history of the famed property.  A press conference will be happening this afternoon to make an official announcement.

We look forward to working with Mr. Goldstein and LACMA in the future to ensure that this masterpiece is fully realized and available for the inspiration of many future generations to come.  

 Jim Goldstein at the Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner (credit: LA Times)

Jim Goldstein at the Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner (credit: LA Times)

For more information on the ongoing design and construction at the Goldstein Estate and to inquire about getting your own unique architectural designs contact Conner & Perry Architects