I search for something to get me out and about; something different but also close to my heart. I have so many interests that I’m swimming in ideas. Let’s start with “A”. Easy. Architecture
Architecture has always been close to my heart. I’m drawn to it. I photograph it. I doodle it in staff meetings. Since I haven’t explored much of it in Los Angeles, visiting an architectural site may just be the “bootstraps” I need for today.
I choose The Schindler House. It’s $7 bucks to get in.
Rudolph Michael Schindler was an Austrian born American architect whose most important works were built in and around Los Angeles in the early to mid-twentieth century. Schindler and his wife, Pauline, had a vision to build a studio – a workspace – in collaboration with Clyde Chace, an engineer, and his wife Marian. The vision came to fruition and The Schindler House was raised in 1922 on Kings Road in West Hollywood. Many of Schindler’s and Chace’s designs created at the Kings Road House were realized; likewise, the house had an open door policy in which many well-known artists of that time were said to have passed through.
The exhibit there today is R.M. Schindler: The Prequel. It showcases the history of three architects of Vienna and their works who influenced Modernism in architecture: Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann. This is an added bonus as I find out later that The Schindler House doesn’t always hold architectural exhibits. It showcases many different works of art. It’s going to be an “all-in” study in architecture today. These bootstraps have already picked me up to feeling 100 percent.
I drive into West Hollywood where there is plenty of free parking on the streets. The House is hidden behind tall brush. I don’t see it at first. As I walk down the long, narrow driveway, I notice that what I’m walking into is unlike the Los Angeles I know. Not only is the House hidden from the street, it’s fortressed by tall bamboo and heavy brush woods. Beautiful greens and deep, rich browns fill this small square space that is tucked away from its residential surroundings. I pay my $7 bucks. I walk in. For a Sunday, I think, it’s not crowded at all.
The House is simple but appealing. The many windows that surround the space let in a tease of natural light, similar to a woods dense with tall trees – it’s all the structure’s low wooden beams that shield the space from direct sunlight. It feels cool and cozy, yet light. Perfect for a warm day in L.A.
Those Schindlers and Chaces – they must have been small people. I stand 5’8″ and walking through the House I feel like the tip of my head is going to just graze the ceiling beams. Although, when I stop to estimate the tip of my head relative to these beams, they still have approximately an extra 7 inches on me. I relax, but for one who stands over six foot one – without ducking capabilities – it could prove uncomfortable.
The home includes a beautiful, bright kitchen, a simple but stunning shower room/bathroom, and four different work rooms, one for each Schindler and Chace. It only takes seven or eight stairs to climb up to the open-air lofts on the rooftop, which once held two beds. For the exhibit, each work room highlights one architect, including one room showcasing the history and works of R.M. Schindler.
Exiting the house, I find a walk out into the gardens peaceful – the setting so lush. As I glance back at the house, it seems to almost disappear, camouflaged into its own natural surroundings. In a Frank Lloyd Wright-ish sort of way.
The R.M. Schindler: The Prequel Exhibit runs through December 6, 2015
For more information about The Schindler House go to MAK Center for Art and Architecture – Schindler House