Schindler and Neutra

Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra, two renown architects of the 20th Century, were both born and educated in Austria and made their way to Los Angeles, both to work with Frank Lloyd Wright, where they individually left their mark.  At one point, Schindler, Neutra and their wives and children all lived on King Street, a house that Schindler built and still stands today.  I went to see it this past week.  Two architects with large egos should not live together and history shows that these two had a massive falling out and then went on to create work that inspires anyone interested in architecture and together (although very much apart) literally define mid-century modern.

The Schindler house was built in 1925.  If you are over 6’2″ you would have to keep your head down while wandering through the house.  The house is a mixture of concrete, wood, glass and feels like it was built for being on a large Indian plain.  In 1925, it probably was.

There a handful of rooms.  Each brings in light through glass openings on the walls.

He also brought light in from a skylight.

The bathroom could have been made today.  Solid concrete and efficient like European homes.

Loved the fireplace that sits inside and outside.

The staircase is super narrow.

Then of course there are the gardens.  The place needs some serious tender loving care.  If you aren’t careful, you could fall through a floor or catch a piece of wood and tear off an entire slat.  Hopefully there are some preservationists making sure that the house survives another 100 years.

Afterward we drove over to Silver Lake and stopped in to Botanica for lunch.  If you had to create what a restaurant should look like in LA, this would be it.  Light, airy, happy and of course a backyard and a vegan menu.  I had the mezze, a little bit of a few vegetable dishes with hummus and delicious bread.

The cookies, particularly the oatmeal, was really good too.  A really sweet spot.

Next stop, Neutra.  In 1932, Neutra built a home for his family across from the Silver Lake reservoir.  He lived for three decades until there was a fire and then his son rebuilt the home and he continued to live there until his death in 1970.  You can now visit that property.  Up the road from the house is a colony (aka development) he built of 10 Japanese influenced homes.  People purchased a home and had a choice of upgrades (like today) if they wanted to pay extra for them.  These houses sit today just as they did when they were built in the 1960’s.

Lucky for us, we were introduced to someone who lives in one of those homes that he purchased 24 years ago.  It is basically in its original state although he redid the kitchen yet kept the fronts of the cabinets and it looks as if nothing had been touched.  He has the original plan books that shows each fixture and keep in mind everything was hand-drawn.  He also has the marketing materials framed and hung on the house which are beautiful drawings with colored pencils.  The details in the house are incredible from the cantilevered fireplace to the long wide balconies to the bookshelves.  It is an architectures dream.

I did not take any photos inside although I did want to but after all, it was this families home, but I keep thinking about what we saw and how lucky we were to peek inside and get a serious full-blown tour from a lover of Neutra.  I guess I would put myself in the category too.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Too cool and thanks for the share.I’ve become obsessed with the lack of acoustical awareness in a lot of modern architecture, especially co working spaces and wonder if you noticed the acoustics in these homes.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I did not notice th acoustics but that says something right there. New homes are built so poorly with such crappy materials that you can hear everything. It’s awful

      1. awaldstein

        Very true. What we don’t notice tell a tale of its own

      2. jason wright

        if it can be mortgaged they will build it.nice post.

  2. Tracey Jackson

    Very cool…Love….

  3. awaldstein

    And the restaurant in Silver Lake is so my kind of place.Wine list is super as well.Think on next trip to LA i’ll stay there for a couple of days or maybe Los Feliz before i go to work in Santa Monica.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s the way to go. Stay there for a few.