WeHo Arch: The Schindler House

Photo by Matthew Lesniak
April 9, 2014

A review that highlights some of West Hollywood’s known and sometimes hidden historically significant architecture by Matthew Lesniak, West Hollywood, California

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

The Schindler House (833 N. Kings Rd.) was WeHo’s first truly modern residence. Built in 1922 by famed architect Rudolph M. Schindler, the house’s exterior has a minimalist urban garden consisting of bamboo, hedges, grasses and vines. Now a museum, this historic architectural gem is open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Rudolph Michael Schindler was born September 10, 1887 in Vienna, Austria. Schindler, a European trained architect, had a strong professional desire to work with American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

After many years Mr. Schindler traveled to the United States where he was employed to oversee Mr. Wrights Chicago office.  Many of the Wright designs at that time were for residential projects. Aline Barnsdall’s Hollyhock House was one of those projects. Mr. Schindler traveled west by train to oversee the construction of the Hollyhock House. Mr. Schindler left the Wright office after the completion of Aline Barnsdall’s Hollyhock House.

Rudolph Michael Schindler had absorbed many of Wright’s principles, but in his own studio residence at Kings Road Mr. Schindler would pioneer new ground. Designed and constructed in 1921-1922 as a two family dwelling with a guesthouse. Mr. Schindler had envisioned his Kings Road dwelling as a new way of living for twentieth century families. The design theme fulfilled the basic requirements of a campus shelter: protected back, open front, fireplace and a roof. Mr. Schindler’s idea of outdoor living is evidenced in his concept of “sleeping baskets” which Mr. Schindler made just large enough to contain a bed.

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

The beauty and genius of his Kings Road studio plan is seen in the integration of the building and its’ surrounding landscape. The shape of the rooms, their relation to the patios and the alternating roof levels create at spatial interlocking between the buildings  interior and its garden.

West Hollywood residents are privileged to have this architectural gem within  its  boundaries. It is all of our responsibility to support the care and maintenance of  this architectural gem. With special gratitude to all that have worked to protect and maintain the Mr. Schindler House  and make it available for us and future generations to enjoy study and appreciate the architectural genius of Rudolph Michael Schindler.

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

Photo by Matthew Lesniak

In closing I express my appreciation to Hollywood Heritage, Historic Resources Group, Los Angeles Conservancy, and Art Deco Society of Los Angeles for their dedication, support and information that enables us all to appreciate the architectural history that surrounds us.