© David Roy
© David Roy
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Rudolph M. Schindler

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R.M. Schindler was born in Vienna in 1887. He studied architecture there, taught by Otto Wagner, who believed that modern materials and methods, not historical styles, should be the source for architectural form and Adolf Loos who equated ornament with crime. In 1911, he discovered Frank Lloyd Wright's Wasmuth portfolio. There he saw an architecture of space more advanced than even that of his teachers and he decamped for Chicago in 1914, hoping to work for Wright. Wright finally hired him in 1918 to work on the Imperial Hotel. He must have respected Schindler, as he left Schindler in charge of his Chicago office during his travels to Japan. Two years later Wright sent Schindler to Los Angeles in 1920 to supervise construction of his most important American commission of the time, the Hollyhock house for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. He never returned to Vienna. For Schindler, theory and practice were intimately connected. He wrote “The twentieth century is the first to abandon construction as a source for architectural form.” Instead, because of the advances in materials and methods, architects were now free to design space and in the future the architect would control “space, climate, light, mood.” creating what he called a 'Space Architecture'. Starting with his own Kings Road house, a concrete and redwood structure completed in 1922 which combined a site plan showing a radical integration of interior and exterior spaces with an equally radical social program of four adults living as equals, Schindler built up an architectural practice in LA. He designed around 500 projects in all; about 150 mainly single family houses were built.