Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kings Road House-Rudolf Schindler 1922

The house built by Rudolfph Schindler for himself and his wife, Pauline, became the most innovative residential project of its time in both America and Europe. The Schindlers bought a lot on Kings Road  in West Hollywood (835 N. Kings Road), a neighborhood then surrounded by the open fields. 

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.

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.
Instead of bedrooms, there are 2 rooftop sleeping baskets. The baskets were redwood four post canopies with beams at mitered corners, protected from the rain by canvas sides.

The courtyard serves as an outdoor room for two of the fours studios. There is an outdoor fireplace in the wall to the left, a covered sleeping platform can be seen on the roof. The floors of he studio are level with the courtyard, and with the screens pulled back there is minimal division between inside and outside. 
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.

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