Schindler House exterior from Kings Road
|Location||833 N. Kings Rd., West Hollywood, California|
|Area||1 acre (0.40 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||71000150|
|Added to NRHP||July 14, 1971|
The Schindler House was such a departure from existing residential architecture because of what it did not have; there is no conventional living room, dining room or bedrooms in the house. The residence was meant to be a cooperative live/work space for two young families. The concrete walls and sliding glass panels made novel use of industrial materials, while the open floor plan integrated the external environment into the residence, setting a precedent for California architecture in particular.
After completing the Hollyhock House, Schindler and his wife Pauline vacationed in Yosemite in October 1921. Inspired by the trip, Schindler returned to create a design for multiple families to share a modern living area, much like the camp site.
The Schindler House is laid out as two interlinking "L" shaped apartments (referred to as the Schindler and Chace apartments) using the basic design of the camp site that he had seen a year before. Each apartment was designed for a separate family, consisting of 2 studios, connected by a utility room. The utility room was meant to serve the functions of a kitchen, laundry, sewing room, and storage. The four studios were originally designated for the four members of the household (Rudolf & Pauline Schindler and Clyde & Marian Chace). The house also has a guest studio with its own kitchen and bathroom. The house, at just under 3,500 square feet (330 m2), sits on a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) lot.
When Schindler first submitted plans to the local planning authorities, they were denied, citing this radical, at the time, new method of construction. After many trips to the local planning office and extensive talks to convince them of its merit, the Building department granted him a temporary permit, meaning that they reserved the right to halt construction at any stage
The house is built on a flat concrete slab, which is both the foundation and the final floor. The walls are concrete tilt up slabs, poured into forms on top of the foundation. The tilt up slabs are separated by 3 inches (76 mm), filled with concrete, clear glass or frosted glass. The tilt up panels act as the hard sheltering wall at the back of the house, and a softer permeable screen at the front. Schindler had long been fascinated by the construction method of tilt up concrete slabs, having done extensive research on them in his early days working for Ottenheimer, Stern, and Reichert. He was now intent on using this method for the new home he was designing, along with friend, Clyde Chace.
With Schindler as architect and Chace as builder to save costs, construction began in November 1921. Construction was complete by May 1922, with a total cost of $12,550. The landscaping, furniture and sleeping baskets remained to be completed. The Chaces and Schindlers shared the house from the summer of 1922 until July 1924 when the Chaces moved to Florida.
Schindler's friend, partner and rival, Richard Neutra along with his wife Dione and son Frank lived in the Chace apartment from March 1925 until the summer of 1930.
Pauline Schindler left the house and her husband in August 1927, Rudolph remained at the house until his death in 1953. The Chace apartment had a variety of famous and creative people live in it, including; art dealer & collector Galka Scheyer, dancer John Bovingdon, novelist Theodore Dreiser, photographer Edward Weston and composer John Cage. Pauline Schindler returned to live in the Chace Studios part of the house, separate from her former husband, in the late 1930s and stayed until her death in May 1977.
Pauline Schindler died in May 1977, leaving the house in the Schindler family until the Friends of the Schindler House (FOSH) purchased the property in June 1980 for $160,000. The house was restored by FOSH in the mid-1980s. By this time, the West Hollywood neighborhood had been rezoned to allow four-story apartment buildings. Some FOSH members, including Gregory Ain (who greatly admired Schindler), advocated that the property should be sold and the house rebuilt in the desert, because its context had changed so profoundly. Some aspects of the restoration were criticized, as they erased changes Schindler had made to the structure over time.
The house is now open to the public Wednesday through Sunday and serves as an exhibition and architectural center.
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
In August 1994, the Friends of the Schindler House signed an agreement with the Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien or "MAK" (the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, Vienna) to create the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House. The agreement allowed FOSH to retain full ownership of the property, with MAK being responsible for financial obligations and programming. The programming at the MAK Center at the Schindler House investigate the relationship between art and architecture, and includes exhibitions, lectures, symposia and concerts. The MAK Center also sponsors six month residencies for art and architecture students annually. The residents live in Schindler's Mackey Apartments in Los Angeles, owned by the MAK Center.
The Schindler House is open for unguided visits from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 AM – 6 PM, and for tours on weekends. Group tours are available during the week by appointment only.
In recent years, the Schindler House has had to contend with the rising density of the surrounding neighborhood. The surrounding neighborhood is currently dominated by 4-storey condominium and apartment buildings, vastly different from the original expansive lots for single family residences.
The house was included in a list of all time top 10 houses in Los Angeles in a Los Angeles Times survey of experts in December 2008.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Smith, Kathryn; Grant Mudford (2001). Schindler House. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. pp. 7–40. ISBN 0-8109-2985-6.
- McCoy, Esther (1960). Five California Architects. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation. ASIN B000I3Z52W.
- Scheyer was the American representative of the Blue Four (painters Wassily Kandinsky, Alexei Jawlensky, Paul Klee & Lyonel Feininger).
- Noever, Peter (2005). Schindler by MAK: Prestel Museum Guide. Prestal Verlag. ISBN 3-7913-2837-9.
- Denzer, Anthony (2008). Gregory Ain: The Modern Home as Social Commentary. Rizzoli Publications. ISBN 0-8478-3062-4.
- Giovannini, Joseph (December 3, 1987). "A Modernist Architect's Home Is Restored in Los Angeles". New York Times
- Hawthorne, Christopher (September 5, 2007). "Habitat 825 is so close and yet so far". Los Angeles Times. pp. E1 & E10
- Mitchell, Sean (December 27, 2008). "The best houses of all time in L.A.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
- King's Road House history and visitor information
- MAK Center Los Angeles
- Kings Road House - Rudolf M. Schindler - Great Buildings Online
- Photos of Schindler House