Schindler House and Museum in Los Angeles, CA
The Schindler-Chace house is considered one of Rudolph Schindler's greatest works and the first built modern residence. This architectural gem should not be overlooked.
The Schindler-Chace house, located on North Kings Road in West Hollywood, was designed by Rudolph M. Schindler as a live-work space for the architect and his wife along with another couple, Clyde and Marian Chace. Schindler came to Los Angeles in 1920 to supervise the design details and construction of the Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for Aline Barnsdall. There, he established an architectural practice and settled in the King Street home in 1922.
Kathryn Smith's monograph, "Schindler House" is an excellent resource for a more in-depth look at the cooperative live/work space.
Architect Rudolph M. Schindler (1887-1953)
Rudolph Schindler was a native Austrian and graduated with an architectural degree from the Imperial Technical University in Vienna in 1911. Schindler joined the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 1910, which was under the direction of Otto Wagner. Wagner was renowned for his part in the Vienna Succession artist group, which rejected the confines of traditional art and architecture. At the Academy, Schindler met Richard Neutra and the two architects would become lifelong colleagues and rivals.
Schindler moved to the United States to work as an architect in 1914 after being introduced to, and enamored with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Following his commission for the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, Wright hired Schindler to oversee his American projects operated out of his Oak Park studio in Chicago. In 1920, Wright sent Schindler to Los Angeles to oversee the construction of the Hollyhock House . In Los Angeles., Schindler began taking on private commissions, one of which was his own home on North Kings Road.
Rudolph Schindler is best known for his private residence design, particularly his Kings Road residence and the Lovell Beach House in Newport Beach, CA. While his designs were relatively unnoticed during his lifetime, Schindler's work is now recognized as a significant contribution to 20th-century modern architecture.
Rudolph Schindler House and Studio Design
Designed as a live-work space for two couples, Rudolph Schindler's home was a departure from traditional residential architecture. The house does not contain a conventional living room, dining room, or bedrooms and shares a kitchen space that is situated as the central space of the floor plan. Schindler's main objective was to open the building to light and views while creating privacy for the occupants.
Each of the of the studio rooms was designated for one member of the household. The rooms consisted of concrete walls on three sides and a glass wall on the fourth leading out into nature. The studio room was a universal space that could serve multiple functions such as cooking, entertaining and working. Sleeping baskets for each family were located in open-air rooms on the roof that could be enclosed with canvas curtains.
Schindler House and Garden Construction
All construction materials for the house were left in their unfinished natural state, including the concrete slab foundation that also served as the house-studio's floor. Redwood frames were fitted with glass and offset the steady rhythms of the poured-on-site concrete wall panels. A cantilevered roof defines the vertical space of the house and at certain points meets the ceiling with a band of glass creating a clerestory.
The unprecedented gardens surrounding the house were given similar geometric treatments as the building. Vertical planes from the house extend out onto the property with the bamboo hedges and create a modern work of art in nature.
Residents of the Schindler-Chace House
The Chace's lived in the house until 1924 and departed for Florida after financial and health-related hardships. In 1925, Richard Neutra and his wife, Dione, and children moved into the guest studio and later occupied the Chace studio quarters. Schindler and Neutra formed a partnership in 1926 and arguably produced some of the most significant contributions to modern architecture of their generation. The Neutra's moved to another house in Los Angeles in 1930.
Rudolph Schindler remained at the Kings Road house until his death in 1953. The Schindler House is now open as a museum and can be toured throughout the year.