Case Study House No. 22 -- the Stahl house

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scowsa
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Case Study House No. 22 -- the Stahl house

Postby scowsa » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:03 am

Just when you thought you knew everything about this icon, the LA times has an interesting piece, which includes a photo of Buck Stahl's early, pre-Koenig, model of his desired house.

Image

http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-stahl27-2009jun27,0,504751.story
scowsa

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Catman
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Postby Catman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:26 am

Wow, great find. Thanks for posting.
8-)

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Postby modernmecca » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:26 am

Fantastic read! Thanks for sharing!
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ch
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Postby ch » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:41 pm

Will be there next Sunday for the evening tour. Looking forward to finally seeing the place close up and personal.

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Postby Catman » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:10 pm

CH,
I hope you will be able to take pictures and share them with us.
You are very lucky.
8-)

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classic form
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Postby classic form » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:24 am

I was there a month ago and had to sign a doc stating that I wouldn't post pics, although I didn't get a copy so I can't read it to make sure I was reading it right...make sense? If this is not true I would love to show my favorite pic of the house.

I had emailed to request a private showing of the house and was told that I could be met at the house by Mrs. Stahl and her son Mark shortly after they landed at LAX from traveling. My wife and I were there at the house waiting for them when they arrived, Mark opened the gate, Mrs. Stahl walked in (after introductions), left her suitcase by the pool, made a beeline for house, entered and walked directly over to the large sliding glass door facing LA, threw it open and stood there gazing at the view for the next 5-10 minutes.

I was photographing at the time and caught her sliding the door open...my favorite photo of the whole vacation I think.

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Postby rockland » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:40 am

Ah. Nice article. Thanks Scowsa.
I suppose you could say that without the passion of Buck Stahl and his
vision, such a beauty would not exist? He found the perfect collaborator
to make his vision a reality.
(And what a handsome fella!)

Most legal forms are written so that photos cannot be used for financial
gain? Sometimes it is very unclear. The Life Mag archives actually post
a list of ways to link to e-mail, blogs, etc. I think they call it personal
sharing?

Case study #22 has a few flickr pools that show the interior.
This is one, 'Case Study House #22 Appreciation Soceity'
(note the spelling of 'society' :) , or it won't come up correctly)

I've looked through all the photos a few times but nothing could
compare to a personal visit. Jealous of anyone that has had that
chance. Very gracious of the Stahl family to make their home so
accessible to tours. I'm sure they get a pretty hefty location fee
for commercial and film use, but opening up a home for a tour is
pure compassionate generosity.

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Well there was no

Postby modfan » Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:20 am

Prohibition on the modernism tour I took a couple years back.
Everyone was taking pics. Carlotta Stahl and her daughter were a most gracious host.

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synthetic space
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Postby synthetic space » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:28 am

I had the chance to visit the house when my wife was in the M.Arch program at UCLA. It was a great experience -- there were only a handful of other students there.

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Postby Stephen » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:57 am

What inspires me most about this story is that it's not about some Hollywood starlet who went to a budding Koenig and said "build me something my friends will be jealous of." This is the story of reachable means who bent on producing something amazing.
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Postby nichols » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:41 am

Image
Did anybody go to the CA Boom Tours this weekend?

http://www.caboomshow.com/features/stah ... for-sunday

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Postby Joe » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:00 am

interesting article. question, though: who built the model?

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Postby sdmod » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:21 pm

I have spoken to many original owners who live in wonderfully designed homes and I would say 75% claim some responsibility for the design. In truth a good architect does collaborate with his/her clients but often these claims are exaggerated. I have seen countless houses where the client says "that was my idea" and later see the very same detail (idea) used in another house by the same architect years before.

It is possible that Mr. Stahl was that very rare individual that conceptualized this house before Koenig was involved. I also wonder who built the model. If he was short on dough and had that level of expertise why not just hire a contractor and save the cost of the architect?...I guess I also wonder given that they bought the house in 54' and Keonig was not hired till 57' if another architect/builder might not have been hired and provided this model?

In either event Mr. Stahl obviously had a vision for the home and part of that vision helped define the house that was ultimatley built.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:39 pm

To me the model bears only a superficial resemblance to the house.

Anyone would place the living room in that location to take in those great Sunset Strip views. That is after all the Stahl's reasoning for buying the land. It seems from the other photos in the article that Buck Stahl and/or his accomplices built that "plinth" for the living room well before Koenig's arrival.

The real beauty of the Stahl house is in the execution of the details, especially the structure. In the model the columns supporting the roof rise up and terminate in a "mystery meat" of roof plane. The curve in the bedroom wing would not have been nearly as inevitable as the perpindicular wing that Koenig designed. The butterfly roof configuration seems impossible to resolve.

I believe the article does a real disservice to Mr. Koenig!
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Postby sdmod » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:00 pm

moderns-r-us wrote:I believe the article does a real disservice to Mr. Koenig!


I thought the same thing. This house has been part of the whole rediscovery of mid-century modern design since the later part of the 90s. There have been articles on the house published that included interviews with Koenig; the story of Shulman's photo etc. have been very well documented. It is too bad that the design concept for the house could not have been discussed with Koenig; he only passed away a few (maybe 04') years ago.

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Postby Stephen » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:15 pm

I don't think we'll ever know exactly what the truth is (and let's be honest, does it really matter that much?). Even if we were to discover that Mr. Stahl had specific ideas about the house before hiring Mr. Koenig, would any us consider Keonig any less of a master?

With that said, I think it can universally agreed that Mr. Stahl was a bit of an atypical client. My gut says this is a guy who stayed up many long nights contemplating his dream home. At the very least, I think he was quite a bit more specific than the average Koenig client.

I agree with ModernsRUs that much of what makes this house "perfect" lies in the details, which are textbook Koenig. However, I have to disagree that the article does a disservice to Pierre Koenig. I think the author covered both viewpoints and simply introduced a new piece of evidence. It's just food for thought, not a condemnation of Pierre Koenig as a client idea-stealing fraud.
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Postby Joe » Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:49 pm

moderns-r-us wrote:To me the model bears only a superficial resemblance to the house.


sure, but it's a scaled model. other than pro football, what was Stahl's background to allow him to bust out a scaled model as the one shown in the photo with that level of detail? I just wonder if there was another architect involved early in the process. Looking at the model, it's easy to speculate that.

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Postby sdmod » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:11 pm

Joe wrote:
moderns-r-us wrote:To me the model bears only a superficial resemblance to the house.

I just wonder if there was another architect involved early in the process. Looking at the model, it's easy to speculate that.

It actually never says that Stahl built the model. It clearly implies that it was his design...I think it is pretty safe to assume there was another architect/builder involved at some point…..good article but kind of “enquireresque” if you ask me.

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Postby Joe » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:55 pm

people in the media love to tear down icons. this article might be an attempt.

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Postby Stephen » Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:08 pm

Joe wrote:people in the media love to tear down icons. this article might be an attempt.


I'm about as jaded as they come when it concerns journalistic integrity, or lack thereof. But I just re-read the article. I don't think the author could tread any lighter and be any more comprehensive in providing multiple perspectives about the photograph.
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Postby moderns-r-us » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:00 pm

sdmod wrote:I thought the same thing. This house has been part of the whole rediscovery of mid-century modern design since the later part of the 90s. There have been articles on the house published that included interviews with Koenig; the story of Shulman's photo etc. have been very well documented. It is too bad that the design concept for the house could not have been discussed with Koenig; he only passed away a few (maybe 04') years ago.


The irony of this "alternate history" and the timing of its release not long after Koenig's death is not lost on me.
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