1934 – Rudolf M. Schindler
805 South Genesee – map
Something was in the air as the seasons were changing in early 1974 as the city and its Cultural Heritage Commission waded into a new architectural pool and, within a two-week span, designated three Modern/International Style homes – a Schindler, a Neutra, and an Ain – official Los Angeles monuments. I’d like to think it had something to do with the sounds of Terry Jacks and John Denver.
Rudolf Michael Schindler had been living and working in Los Angeles for more than a dozen years when he built this wood frame and stucco home for John J. Buck, who designed the interiors of women’s clothing stores.
Born in Vienna in 1887, Schindler left a six-year stint in the Windy City (i.e. Chicago) to come to L.A. in 1920 to supervise the construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House. By the time he received the Buck commission he had made a name for himself in Southern California with projects like Silverlake’s The James Eads How Residence (1925-26) (a recently-designated monument, No. 895), the Phillip Lovell Beach House (1922-26), and his own digs on Kings Road (1921-22) in West Hollywood.
MOCA’s The Architecture of R.M. Schindler says that while the Buck House featured a
“… simple façade to the street of planar walls and ribbon or clerestory* windows, the rear of the house opened to a garden by means of sliding glass walls – a device used infrequently by Schindler elsewhere in his work. The design was further distinguished by Schindler’s incorporation of a second-story apartment with its own entrance alongside the main house.”*My OED tells me a clerestory is "The upper part of the nave, choir, and transepts of a cathedral or other large church, lying above the triforium ... and containing a series of windows, clear of the roofs of the aisles, admitting light to the central parts of the building."
Built with three bedrooms and three garages, the Buck House’s garden on that southern side (the 8th Street façade is the one in these pictures) is completely obscured from the pavement. However, if you go to arcspace.com, you can see not only shots of that garden area, but also a few photos of the interior.
MAKCenter.org writes there have been a couple of alterations to the Buck House since 1934: “… a modern kitchen was installed, a bedroom has been opened up to its adjacent breakfast room, two columns have been added under the overhang of the main house, and a shading device was designed to shade the porch.”
Nonetheless, the building looks to be in great shape and, while I don’t usually notice this sort of thing, it seems extra-appropriately situated on that corner space, if that makes any sense.
The next Schindler-designed landmark on the list is No. 228, the Laurelwood Apartments in North Hollywood.
Elizabeth A.T. Smith and Michael Darling. The Architecture of R.M. Schindler The Museum of Contemporary at Los Angeles, in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2001 New York, NY
Up next: Lovell Health House