Finding Case Study Houses in LA

ARCHITECTURE AND PRESERVATION NEWS for the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee (ModCom) and other Mid Century Modern, Googie, International, Art Deco, 20th Century design

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robbhouston
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Postby robbhouston » Mon Sep 11, 2006 6:04 am

Thanks for all that info. I'd researched the whole CSH program a bunch on the web, and recently picked up the small Taschen paper back by Elizabeth Smith. Will look for McCoy book this week.

Great stuff!

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Tony
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Postby Tony » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:37 am

The "unexecuted" J. R. Davidson #11 (or #1) was in fact executed, although on a different site in Toluca Lake. I think it also changed from a multi-level to a single-level house.

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Postby robbhouston » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:36 pm

Finally picked up the Second Edition "Case Study Houses 1945-1962" by Esther McCoy. Awesome stuff. I've got a renewed inspiration. Maybe my patio (part of which faces the street) needs an obscure glass privacy wall...? :)

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Postby SDR » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:07 pm

Neat stuff, huh ? I like getting back closer to the source of these designs, with early photos and a writer who was there when it happened.

She answers a lot of questions, no ? Clearly an informed enthusiast !

Enjoy -- SDR
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CSH #22

Postby EdJ » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:33 pm

Re: CSH #22

In the first photo by STLModern showing the south and east walls of the living room wing, has the east wall been covered with metal siding? Or am I seeing closed drapes through glass? If it is metal, does anyone know when it was done?
Great pics.

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Postby SDR » Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:10 pm

Let's see. In the first photo (coming up the private drive) the north wall faces the street (right in photo), the east wall has windows (left in photo). These are the conventional designations (exterior elevations named for the direction that wall faces). The plan shows windows in bathroom and hall on the east elevation. The north and west (carport) walls are shown solid, and I assume the corrugated steel is original.

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Postby EdJ » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:52 am

Ok. Got it now. The first two photos both show the same metal wall and the same drive.

In looking through a copy of "The Presence of the Case Study Houses", the recent photos there reveal a 'minor' change to this house. The low wall between the carport and the pool area has been replaced with a, almost to the underside of the deck, wall of decorative pierced concrete block, with a white door in it. Presumably this was done at some point to meet the legalities of fencing off the pool. Looks like Koenig's input would have been valuable in this regard, but apparently he wasn't consulted. My guess is that the photos in the book were taken around 2003 though they are not specifically dated. Anyone have any further info on this item.

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Postby Mark A » Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:05 pm

Last Sunday, I took a drive to LA and went up to CHS 22. The gate was open and I drove in. You can't see too much from the street, but I did notice something interesting. The frosted glass on the entry to the pool area had non-frosted letters (like an address). It read"C H S 2 2" I grabbed my camera and the batteries were dead. :(

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Postby ch » Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:59 am

As has been mentioned in another thread, Case Study House #21 on Wonderland (the one that sold at auction a year or so ago) has been sitting unoccupied. On a recent trip to LA we visited the house. There is absolutely no sign of life so we pulled right into the driveway, got out and toured. Since there are no coverings over any of the glass walls or any furniture you can see the virtually the entire place. What a small treat to see this house up close and personal. Anyone in the LA area should take advantage of this situation while it lasts.

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Postby STLModern » Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:35 am

EdJ wrote:Ok. Got it now. The first two photos both show the same metal wall and the same drive.

In looking through a copy of "The Presence of the Case Study Houses", the recent photos there reveal a 'minor' change to this house. The low wall between the carport and the pool area has been replaced with a, almost to the underside of the deck, wall of decorative pierced concrete block, with a white door in it. Presumably this was done at some point to meet the legalities of fencing off the pool. Looks like Koenig's input would have been valuable in this regard, but apparently he wasn't consulted. My guess is that the photos in the book were taken around 2003 though they are not specifically dated. Anyone have any further info on this item.


This is what Mrs. Stahl told me when I visited...

Mr. Stahl actually built that wall to give the family more privacy from curious people walking into the carport and looking over the wall. As the house became more famous this became more of a problem. So up went the wall.

Here are some pictures I took...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stlmodern/sets/72157604075877004

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Postby egads » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:29 am

Isn't Mrs. Stahl great? When the house was on the MAK tour, someone asked her about raising kids there with the steep cliff just over the edge of the pool. She said we just told them to stay away from the edge and they did!

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Stahl House

Postby EdJ » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:30 am

STLModern-
Thanks for posting the pictures. They answer a lot of questions, as they show areas that aren't usually presented in books. They also show how 'on the edge' the living room really is. What a view!

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Postby SDR » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:30 am

Wow.

Nice set of pics. Really gives the flavor of the drama, at this late date.

Is that the original kitchen, including ceiling ? I had no idea. . .

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Postby egads » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:54 am

Having been in there, I would say the kitchen was original. Only some new appliances.

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Stahl Changes

Postby EdJ » Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:26 pm

A comparision of old and new photos reveals that the kitchen was remodeled at some point; don't know when.

Perhaps the biggest change is the closing of the space between the 'floating' ceiling structure and the underside of the buildings metal deck. Also, the original kitchen ceiling was apparently of the small opening 'eggcrate' type layin. I'm guessing this concealed fluorescent tubes. Now, it has the wood pattern as shown in recent photos. Another change, the upper cabinets, next to the dining area are now wood faced, originally they were frosted glass or plastic. Originally there were polished chrome pulls on all the cabinets, now it looks like there are no visible pulls.

Other changes: added window washing catwalks at the SW corner of the living room; expansion of the concrete patio in various areas; addition of stone facing to the metal fireplace hood.

From a presevationist point of view these changes are unfortunate, however I think the added stone on the fireplace and catwalks are actually an improvement architecturally speaking. Of course I'm sure there are many opinions on that.

One can see most of these items, not always easily, in the "Pierre Koenig" book.

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Postby SDR » Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:34 pm

The changes are all unfortunate from a preservationist point of view, I suppose. I can certainly understand the addition of window-cleaning catwalks ! I've never liked the stone; it could have been so much more tailored, an altogether different sort of stone, even if somewhat rusticated. But, it's a part of the historic fabric, now, I suppose. I wonder what Pierre thought of it; when was it added, I wonder. . .

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Postby EdJ » Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:39 pm

It is interesting, if not particularly surprising, to note that the Stahl house went through some changes during Koenig's design process. Probably the most major change involves the extent of the slab at the living room wing. Of course, as built, the slab pretty much stops at the window line. However, there is a perspective drawing in the "Pierre Koenig" book showing the slab extending beyond the window line on all 3 sides. Another drawing of this sort, showing guardrails as well as a positioning of the house further west, is at the USC website. Other pictures are there, including nice shots of the original and new kitchens.

The link is here:http://www.usc.edu/dept/architecture/slide/koenig/008/008.html

Also of interest is the full size replica of Stahl that was built for the 1989/1990 "Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses" exhibition. A photo of this replica, again in the "Pierre Koenig" book clearly shows the omission of the fireplace. I can't imagine that Koenig wasn't consulted on this and can only conclude that upon 30 years of reflection he prefered the design sans fireplace.

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Postby SDR » Sun Mar 09, 2008 3:54 pm

I saw that show, and was unprepared for not one but two full-scale house replicas (the other being Ralph Rapson's poetic Case Study entry) -- and a piece of the Eames house frame at full scale, too. Quite a show.

I'd forgotten the fireplace issue. As the work was executed roughly, with painted construction-grade lumber standing in for steel, and of course no glazing, the experience was closer to visiting a holographic ghost rather than the real thing. The idea was no doubt to give a feel for substance and space, rather than an actual replica. But the absence of a fireplace, an elemental piece of the design (one would think), may be supported by your conjecture. . .

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Postby EdJ » Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:47 pm

Looks like my conjecture has been dealt a grievous blow. It would appear the fireplace was added at some point during the show. One photo with, one without.

Link here: http://www.usc.edu/dept/architecture/slide/koenig/031/031.html

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Postby SDR » Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:56 pm

Hmm -- looks like some glazing there, as well. Guess they were still at it when I visited, too. Don't recall the date.

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