Kenneth Reiner, the man who commissioned John Lautner's Silvertop house, died earlier this month at 95, the LA Times reports. Silvertop is one of Lautner's most standout works and Reiner was a standout client--he didn't just hand over cash, he actually invented and built some of the house's coolest features. Reiner made his fortune in hairclips and aircraft nuts, and in 1956 he hired Lautner to design the house on Micheltorena St. in Silver Lake--a concrete dome with a cantilevered driveway, filled with "faucet-less sinks that automatically filled with water; a dining table with a hydraulic pedestal that was lowered for cocktails and elevated for meals; a system for heating and cooling that could not be seen or heard; and controls for lights and appliances that were discreetly set into walls and doors jambs," as the LAT describes.
Reiner created special parts for Lautner, and he invented the low velocity heating and cooling system, lights that pivot into the ceiling, and electrically-controlled skylights. He also hired Lautner to design the Midtown School in Los Feliz, which incorporated some of the Silvertop technology. Reiner had planned on spending about $75,000 on Silvertop construction, but it ended up being nearly $1 million. After falling out with his business partner, he went into bankruptcy and sold the house before it was finished. The new owners hired Lautner to complete the job in the early seventies. Reiner moved to Long Beach and started a new business.
We visited Silvertop in 2008; you can also see it in the movie Less Than Zero.
· Kenneth Reiner dies at 95; industrialist built landmark Silvertop home [LAT]
· Touring Lautner's Silvertop Residence in Silver Lake [Curbed LA]