Pearl M. Mackey Apartments >>
(1939), Los Angeles, CA
Owned by the Republic of Austria and home to the MAK Center Artists and Architects in Residence program
Schindlerís work on Hollyhock House
(1918-21), Los Angeles, CA
While Frank Lloyd Wright was away in Japan, Schindler worked on some of his projects including the large residence for Aline Barnsdall. Schindler had done most of the drawings for the house, while Wrightís son worked on managing the initial site. However, Wright was not pleased with his sonís work and had Schindler take over the project in order to meet the demands of Barnsdall.
The Hollyhock House, named after Barnsdallís favorite flower, included a main living space, theater, and other buildings. Schindler worked on Residence A, which was made up of the theater directorís residence and other terrace houses. He designed the living spaces for the actors in the form of apartments. The large project changed throughout its many stages and went over budget. Schindler did not help stem the cost of the project by making changes that Wright did not approve. From the beginning, however, Schindler had disliked Wrightís formal and massive design that limited the amount of light into the living spaces. The relationship between Schindler, Wright, and Barnsdall became more complex. Eventually, Barnsdall became one of Schindlerís clients and commissioned him to work on several small projects, including the Translucent house that was never built.
The Hollyhock House was completed in 1921. Today, the Los Angeles Parks and Recreation uses Residence A as a studio space for classes. The original landscape designed by Wright has been altered during numerous reconstruction phases. Schindlerís work on the house will forever be a part of history, since the AIA designated the Hollyhock House as one of the projects that should be preserved as a contribution to architecture history.
Pueblo Ribera Courts
(1923-25), La Jolla, CA
Built as a vacation settlement in La Jolla, Pueblo Ribera Courts is one of Schindlerís larger projects. Cost efficiency was an important factor in the design of the conventional beach shack. The owner wanted twelve houses with garages and private patios looking out toward the Pacific Ocean. Schindler tackled the creation of an organic whole through the arrangement of identical units. He was able to establish individual character in each of the units through their positioning in relation to the next.
Schindler explored the materials of concrete and redwood in Pueblo Ribera, much like he did in his other 1920s projects including the Kings Road House. Concrete is used for the wall enclosures and slab that also acts as the finished floor. The sloping site, however, proved difficult for pouring and erecting the concrete walls. This was the first project that Schindler had to develop a new construction system for, using movable formwork that could later be incorporated into the structural system of the building.
Each of the Pueblo Ribera units is U-shaped in plan and equipped with a small kitchen and bedroom. A public alley connects the garages. An exterior court for each of the houses was considered necessary in order to accommodate outdoor activities. Privacy for these exterior spaces was also important since they are located in front of the living room. On the other side of the living room, clerestory windows located right below the ceiling provide plenty of light and ventilation. The roof terrace with its own fireplace is accessible by a small stair. Since they have been built, the courts have been altered due to partial destruction by fire.
(1925), Silverlake, CA
The How House sits on top of a steep ridge, angled to the street, with a gorgeous view of the Los Angeles River. It is one of the best examples of Schindlerís use of geometry and proportion in order to manipulate space. The main volume of the house is shaped as a cube with smaller spaces extending out from it. A similar plan was also used for the plan of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in South Central Los Angeles.
The layout of the How House is almost completely symmetrical through the diagonal axis of the plan, and is the same principle that was also explored in the Kings Road House. Its axis also links the interior and exterior spaces, passing through corner windows. Four living rooms have been incorporated into the program along with a kitchen, dining, and sitting room. The main living spaces are on the upper level, while the garage and Mr. Howís offices are located beneath. A stairway penetrates the double-story height, allowing light into the lower space. Interior rooms have corner openings in order to lengthen the perceived size, a reoccurring technique used by Schindler in many of his projects.
The How house is essentially made up of two structures, again emphasizing Schindlerís use of materials such as concrete, redwood, and glass. The lower part of the house is concrete, but is only visible from the backside of the sloping site, with exposed walls on the inside. A light wood frame was used for the upper level with redwood panels installed horizontally. The interior walls and partition were covered with plaster. Overhangs were later added to the roofs in an attempt to prevent roof leakage.
Philip Lovell Beach House
(1925-26), Newport Beach, CA
The Lovell Beach house in Newport Beach is Schindlerís second most important project next to the Kings Road House. The building addressed many complex issues, dealing with space, form, and structure. The Lovell Beach House clearly demonstrated Schindlerís architectural philosophy and is considered the greatest contribution he made to modernism in America.
Schindler was inspired by the pile structures at the ocean and as a result lifted the two-story house off the ground, also giving it privacy from the public walkways of the beach. None of the spaces, however, are sheltered from the view of the Pacific Ocean. A large room with a glass faÁade penetrates the core of the house and looks out toward the ocean. The second floor cantilevers out from the main volume of the building and creates a balcony for sleeping porches. The roof terrace is used as a private outdoor space for sunbathing. Schindlerís use of interlocking levels and double story heights illustrate a remarkable continuity in both section and plan.
The structure of the beach house added to its dramatic appearance. Five cast-in-place concrete frames extend out from below the raised building. Non-load bearing walls were made of cement plaster and metal. This was perhaps the first time Schindler distinguished structure from enclosed space. The expressive design of the Lovell Beach House reminds us of Schindlerís belief in a good architecture and environment that can improve lives.
Schindler and Neutra entry for League of Nations Building
The League of Nations Building was a competition entry that Schindler and Richard Neutra worked on together. The site for the project sat adjacent to a lake in Geneva. An elevation of the envisioned building resembles Schindlerís Lovell Beach House, which was built shortly after the competition entry. Unfortunately, the League of Nations Building project did not win a prize and was never built.
Although Neutra completed the final drawings, Schindler had done extensive work on the design of the building. It was complex in section and plan, enclosing a large central courtyard. Schindler designed the assembly hall that can be seen adjacent to the lakeside in drawings. Structural piers extend out from the main volume and appear to lift up the building. Sloped glazing was to be used in order to illuminate the interior spaces and contribute to the visual lightness of the structure. A modern design, however, was not ready to be comprehended for such a large project.
Schindler and Neutraís scheme did not win the competition, but it was deserving of an exhibit in Europe the following year. Schindler and Neutraís project was labeled with only the latterís name; the reason for this remains unknown. This event created tension between the two architects, and ownership over projects became a popular dispute between Schindler and Neutra regarding future projects.
(1926 and 40), Silverlake, CA
The Sachs Apartments, also known as Manola Court, are a series of three buildings that Schindler worked on. All buildings step up the steep hillside of the site. One building done in 1926 is U-shaped in plan, enclosing an exterior courtyard.
Designed as one of his first plaster-skin houses, the Sachs Apartments contributed to Schindlerís language of volumes and clever use of common materials.
(1928-29), Avalon, Catalina Island, CA
Located on a hillside of Catalina Island, the Wolfe House is one of Schindlerís most dramatic designs. In order to advertise their costume designs, the Wolfes hired Schindler to design their summer house. The same stepped design concept that is articulated in the Laurelwood Apartments and the Grokowski residence in South Pasadena is also used for the Wolfe House. Schindlerís emphasis was on the relationship of the house to its steep topography and the views out to the bay and ocean.
The program of the house is separated into living quarters for the Wolfes, guests, and the housekeeper. Each level is accompanied by a private terrace and is separated by a glass door that can be completely opened to the outside space. The Wolfeís living space located at the top of the building is connected to the roof by a ramp. A garage was incorporated between the upper two levels of the house. Schindlerís attempt to create a relaxing atmosphere was aimed at improving social behavior and lifestyles, a goal that remained consistent in all his projects. Unfortunately, the house no longer remains in its original condition. The Wolfe House has been passed through the hands of numerous owners, some of which altered the furniture and painted over them.
(1933-34), Silverlake, CA
Built on a hilltop in Silverlake, the Oliver House is owned by a family and is kept in nearly original condition. The Oliver House, however, is rotated 45 degrees from the street in order to align itself with dramatic views below. This awkward fit caused the corners of the building to be sliced off to accommodate property boundaries.
Perhaps the most unique characteristic of the Oliver House is the roof. Many of Schindlerís roofs appear to be flat when viewed from the front side, but in actuality are sloping when viewed from the back. This is the technique Schindler used in the Oliver House to create an element of surprise, in addition to adding a sculptural element to the spaces underneath it. It is held up like a tent by a series of lightweight walls.
The main space is L-shape in plan, similar to the Rodriguez and How Houses, and wraps around a garden patio. The interior of the Oliver House is simple with Schindlerís custom designed Douglas-fir plywood furniture. All major living and sleeping spaces are located on the upper lever. The childrenís room can be reached through an outdoor space that is shared with the parentsí bedroom. Dense plants on the exterior provide privacy for these rooms. The house is one of Schindlerís many projects constructed of a wood frame, covered with stucco and plaster, with steel windows.
(1934), Los Angeles, CA
The Buck House is one of Schindlerís projects closely tied to the International Style. The architect demonstrated his use of geometry in order to communicate his theory of Space Architecture in this project. Unlike many of Schindlerís projects, the Buck House is situated on a flat site surrounded by other residences. The horizontal arrangement of the house is emphasized by its flat roofs of different heights that appear to float above the house due to a continuous strip of windows.
The program of the Buck House includes three bedrooms and three garages located at street level, with a one-bedroom apartment that sits on top. Its layout is made up of two L-shapes that actually interlock three-dimensionally. The house is visually opened in the back, where the house embraces and acts as a frame around the patio. The overall structure is made up of wood frame with stucco.
Clerestory windows were used to allow the penetration of light into all spaces. Interior partitions of translucent glazing break down the scale of the interiors and add visual interest and continuity to the house. However, these were probably created by J.J. Buck, who designed the interiors of clothing stores for women. Built-in cabinets run along an entire wall as a dining room installation. Some remodeling has occurred: a modern kitchen was installed, a bedroom has been opened up to its adjacent breakfast room, two columns have been added under the overhang of the main house, and a shading device was designed to shade the porch. Still, the space of the house has remained mostly unchanged and consistent with Schindlerís style of design. By controlling views with windows and visually extending the experience beyond enclosed space, the Buck house is an example of Schindlerís mastery of making space seem larger than it really is.
De Keyser House
(1935), Hollywood, CA
Unlike most of his hill houses that step up the slope of their site, Schindler actually stacked the volumes of the De Keyser house in order to limit costs and emphasize the vertical structure. The house was built for two families, much like the Kings Road House. The main space was placed at the upper level of the house in order to maximize views, while the smaller residence below was given its own outdoor space. The floor plan of the house reveals the relationship of the living spaces and bedrooms to outdoor spaces, which was often Schindlerís main concern in designing the layout of his projects.
The exterior of the De Keyser House is very distinctive, largely due to Schindlerís use of color and material in this project. He used different materials on the four sides of the house such as brick, stucco, plywood, and concrete for the floor. Like the Oliver House, the roof appears flat but is clearly sloping over the living room space when viewed from the back. Horizontal green strips run along the top of the house, combined with red-framed windows and brick for the fireplace. Studs and rafters built of plywood are exposed on the interior, contrasting the plaster used for the fireplace in the living room. Through this clever usage of materials, Schindler was able to create one of the cheapest, yet most aesthetically pleasing, projects of his time. Much of the De Keyser House remains in its original state. The downstairs kitchen has been converted into a guestroom and the lower terrace will soon be restored.
(1935-36), Silverlake, CA
The Walker House demonstrates Schindlerís remarkable ability to maximize space in a project. Located in Silverlake, the Walker House cascades down a sloping site, taking full advantage of the view of the nearby reservoir. Eight columns that are neatly tucked under the overhanging terrace of the main space support the house. Clerestory windows break up the solidarity of the street faÁade and visually lift up the roof. Schindler was able to use these elements to mimic the slope of the hillside.
The current owner of the Walker house preferred a white interior to the original bluish-green color that is also used on the exterior. The house stands out because of this striking color and also because of Schindlerís architectural style. The materials used for the house included wood frame with plaster and stucco in combination with aluminum colored paint used around the windows.
The house is made up of five levels with a large outdoor area on the ground floor. A deck extends out from the main space and acts as a pergola and balcony on separate ends. The entrance, garage, and maidís room are positioned at the top of the house, while the living spaces, kitchen, and playroom are located on levels below that. Built-in furniture is found throughout the house. The interior receives an abundance of natural light, making it one of Schindlerís more dramatic spaces. The Walker House was damaged in 1994 by the Northridge earthquake, but has since been restored to its almost original condition.
Modern Creators Shops
(1936-8), West Hollywood, CA
This small row of shops in West Hollywood gets the full Schindler treatment with its angled display windows and complex interior sections. The corner shop is sectioned in its plan to face the corner of the street. The roof, an inverted gable, swoops up over the mezzanine. This shop features a corner fireplace and clerestory windows. The middle stores have a mezzanine at the rear overlooking their two-story spaces; the double-sloping roof is split at the center to provide clerestory illumination. At both the middle and end stores, the display cases form angled volumes projecting out from the main blocks. At the lot-line a large L-shaped wall interlocks with the last one-story shop to close the composition.
(1939-40), Silverlake, CA
Schindlerís Falk Apartments is one of his more complex projects due to its irregular and sloped site. He was commissioned to build four units on a triangular lot at the intersection of two streets that took advantage of the view overlooking the city of Hollywood. The difficult part was interlocking the units on site without sacrificing the individual characteristics of each apartment, something Schindler was well known for doing in his other apartment projects. His genius design accomplished that, in addition to creating a sculptural principle for the hillside by uniquely stacking the floors of the building.
The most unique part of the Falk Apartments is Schindlerís use of floor plans. An orthogonal grid is utilized at ground level, while an abrupt switch to a diagonal grid takes place in the second and third levels. Outdoor patios and terraces are created where the transition of the grids took place. Each apartment is given a private exterior space. Two one-bedroom apartments are located on street level, while two larger units climb up the sloped site with two bedrooms each. Level changes occur in both the floors and ceilings of the spaces.
The materials used in the penthouse unit demonstrate Schindlerís ability to minimize costs and maximizing open space and light. The ceiling is constructed from plywood that follows down to the walls of the living space, meeting grass cloth. Light penetrates the space from four directions, illuminating the built-in furniture that was also custom designed by Schindler. Schindler was able to design a building that respected the complexity of its site.
(1936 Ė 1938 and 1946), Studio City, CA
For William Lingenbrink, who was also the client for the Modern Creators Shops in Hollywood, Schindler designed and remodeled a group of stores on Ventura Boulevard. Unlike the Modern Creators Shops, which were designed and built together as a coherent group of new buildings, these stores were built and altered over a fairly long period. They do not have the complex sectional development of the group in Hollywood, but Schindler again used large L-shaped stucco planes and prominent display cases to make the store facades more three-dimensional and dynamic.
(1938-47), Silverlake, CA
Schindler altered an existing bungalow, adding a second floor with a prominent gable roof expressed as a rotated rectangular volume, similar to that of the much larger Van Dekker House of 1939-40. A large music studio occupies the new floor, with an entrance from below into a dramatic second floor volume ó its walls and ceiling formed by the sloping roof form. The interior surfaces are largely covered in green-stained plywood, and a large triangular clerestory window further articulates the space. Schindler completed the bungalowís transformation with a bedroom addition to the upper story in 1947. The new bedroom has a sloped roof with a clerestory window at one end, hidden from view by a parapet; the north face is covered with horizontal strips of roofing, similar to the DeKeyser House (1935).
(1940-1942), Glendale, CA
This substantial house, on a gently sloping lot, is organized as an L, angled away from the street, enclosing a large private garden. A front garden, screening the bedrooms, is linked to the rear one by a passageway beneath a bedroom. The exterior displays wood, stone and clearly visible sloped roofs. The main roof here is treated as a rotated volume, with the slope returning at a right angle in frames over the balcony. The front corner is articulated to allow the living room, screen porch, and bedroom all to have corner openings. Facing the garden, the hallway and loggia have door-height ceilings which allow the higher clerestory windows to let light directly into the bedrooms and living spaces. The entrance leads up to the loggia facing the garden at the main level. Then entrance to the living room emphasizes its diagonal organization from the corner at the loggia to the corner window facing the street.
Bethlehem Baptist Church
(1944), Los Angeles, CA
Located in South Central Los Angeles, the Bethlehem Baptist Church is Rudolf Schindlerís only church design. It was created for a small African-American congregation and served as a Christian church and community center. Despite the small budget for the project, Schindler was able to develop a resourceful design that incorporated his principles of space, climate, light, and mood that he felt were important in all building environments.
In appearance, the Bethlehem Baptist Church closely resembles a number of houses that Schindler designed. Horizontal bands of stucco step down and clad the exterior of the building, recalling Schindlerís Packard House (1924) and How House (1925). This horizontal datum reduces the visual scale of the church, and helps lead the eye up to the cross-shaped tower and skylight that rises above the main space. Without this tower, the building can hardly be identified as a place for worship. Schindler designed the congregation space and added classrooms to an existing structure, which was the living space of the pastor. Two seating areas for the congregation met at a corner of the building, where a pulpit and small pool were located. The main entrance was also designated at this corner so that the public could enter the church on a diagonal axis, perceiving the longest distance of interior space. Clerestory windows, in addition to the central skylight, direct light into the main space. The roof terrace of the building was often used as an outdoor theater and stage.
The method of construction used in the church differs from the rest of Schindlerís projects because of its larger scale. Instead of traditional joists, the ceiling is constructed out of wood decking that is laid over beams with tongue-and-groove connections. The wood-framed walls are covered with stucco and the structure of the roof is exposed. In order to create a sense of vast interior space, longer beam spans and plenty of glazing were two priorities that Schindler had for this project. The Bethlehem Baptist Church remains standing today and can be found along Compton Avenue. It is far from its original, polished condition, as even its exterior shades of blue, red, and black have faded to a white color.
(1946), Studio City, CA
The Kallis House, located in Studio City, is comfortably nestled into a hillside with a dramatic view overlooking the San Fernando Valley. It was originally built around existing trees, resulting in the design of two separate buildings that form a wide V in plan. Its shape conforms to the unique topography of the site. The garage acts as a buffer along the street and provides privacy for the main spaces of the house. The house steps down in three separate layers with a drive-through garage located on street level. The landscaping elements that separate the garage and house comprise the second layer, while the actual house and living spaces make up the lowest part of the project.
A small kitchen, dining area, and bedroom make up the program of the house, while a terrace connects these living spaces with a large artistís studio. Originally the terrace was left open to the outdoors, but has since been converted to an interior space by the current owners. Two large fireplaces built of stone frame the view looking out toward the valley.
The house is constructed out of plywood, parts of which are covered by green split stakes typically used for fencing, in order to blend in with the color and texture of the surrounding oak trees. Wood and plaster were used to cover the interior walls. Schindler used sloping walls throughout the Kallis House, sculpting it into one of his most unique projects. An elegantly sloping butterfly roof covers the structure allowing clerestory windows to bring light into the house.
(1946-1949), Studio City, CA
Schindler arranged twenty nearly identical two-bedroom apartments very cleverly on this sloping site. The one-story units are arranged in two levels on either side of a central path leading past the garage courts. The ground level units all have patios, while the upper level units have roof decks. Schindler angled the units as they step up the hill so that each two-unit block has a distinct front garden and entry.
(1948-49), Hollywood Hills, CA
The Janson House is uniquely different from the rest of Schindlerís hillside houses. The extreme slope of the site forced the architect to abandon his usual stepped volume method. Instead, Schindler stacked the volumes of the house in order to save building costs. The foundation is lifted off the floor and supported by angled wood columns, reinforced by steel bracing, that look like ladders added to the exterior of the house.
In order to incorporate exterior spaces into the layout, Schindler designed decks and trellises that cantilever out from the main spaces of the house. In his section drawing, the shape of the Janson House can be identified as an inverted pyramid anchored into the hillside. The project is comprised of two levels, organized into a cruciform plan. The bedroom and main living space is located at the top, while a study room and bathroom are found on the level below that.
The Janson House is truly a tree house masterpiece built of eclectic materials. It can only be reached by a set of stairs and a bridge. Schindler was the first to use Alsynite, a translucent fiberglass material, for the walls of a house. It was colored blue to represent the sky, an early inspiration desired by the client. The use of the translucent material makes the corners of the building seem to disappear and eloquently contrasts with the solid concrete and wood-framed walls. Schindler did not sacrifice the privacy of the house through the use of fiberglass. Instead, he gave the interior spaces light. The Janson House is one of Schindlerís three Translucent houses that enlighten his ideas about Space Architecture.
(1949-50), Westwood, CA
Situated on a steep slope, this three-bedroom house with studio is still inhabited by its first owner. Very few alterations have been made to Schindlerís original plan. The most notable alterations are the enclosure of the carport and the replacement of some of the fiberglass roof sections with plywood, due to insulation concerns.
The house is oriented perpendicular to the street, thereby creating the largest green space possible on the site. The exterior is an easily read volume, composed of a dominant horizontal bar, clipped at 45 degree angles on its faÁade and topped by a symmetrical gable roof. The three-story street elevation would be symmetrical as well, were it not for the vertical shift between the living room windows, creating dynamism in an otherwise austere form.
Built over a small incline, the house is entered along a bridge into its middle section. Here, the houseís monumental presence from the street gives way to airy interiors arranged under a translucent blue fiberglass roof construction. The roof is the dominant interior feature of the site and, through a strategy recalling the plan organization of the Kallis or Armon Houses, each room negotiates its own relationship with it.