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Schindler sets the stage for coming of age

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Construction on the Ellen Janson Residence in Los Angeles began in 1948 and took approximately one year to finish. The structure, designed by RM Schindler, was modeled in 1998 by Jennifer Liang, Irwin Yan, Mark S. Lee and Eric Lin. / photo by Tom Galaraga

Construction on the Ellen Janson Residence in Los Angeles began in 1948 and took approximately one year to finish. The structure, designed by RM Schindler, was modeled in 1998 by Jennifer Liang, Irwin Yan, Mark S. Lee and Eric Lin. / photo by Tom Galaraga

by Tom Galaraga
Assistant Managing Editor

Perpendicular lines bisect several series of parallel lines, forming right angles and giving structure to an otherwise abstract form. Its conceptual design pushes the limits of its given time period, and today’s architectural standards.

The chosen artistic media for this exhibit is the architecture of Rudolph Michael Schindler (1887-1953).

Schindler’s architecture surpasses building standards and design limitations of modern day engineering, and considering Schindler’s given time period, his architectural designs remain as a feat of human intellectuality.

“In recent years Schindler has become increasingly recognized as a key figure in the history of both international and American architecture,” said Michael Darling, assistant curator for the Schindler Exhibition in a press release issued Feb. 23. “Serving as a lively conduit of trans-Atlantic architectural ideas, his work is a model for humanistic, regionally sensitive architectural practice.”

The exhibit, which is featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) at the California Plaza in Los Angeles, will be on display through June 3.

The exhibit features models of Schindler’s architectural vision, built to scale and displayed in chronological order. The exhibit also features drawings, photographs and pieces of furniture, all of which are part of Schindler’s unique architectural vision.

Through the chronological display, viewers are able to witness the development of Schindler’s architectural designs, and can witness the progression that Schindler underwent from a young architect born in Vienna, Austria, to his final 33 years of design on the coast of Calif.

“The distinctive yet subtle changes in his early phases are amply documented, while his mature work from 1920’s onward receive the most intensive attention,” said Darling.

Schindler was schooled in both architecture and engineering, and under the tutelage of Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos, he claims he became heavily influenced by Austrian avant-garde.

Later in his lifetime, Schindler was exposed to the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, and in hopes of working with Wright, Schindler decided to relocate to America. In 1917, Schindler began working with Wright, who became one of Schindler’s most influential instructors and employers.

Through his work, Schindler is able to capture an amount of expressiveness and creativity that standard building design lacks. It is through this “expressive potential” that any building designed by Schindler, carries a subtle poeticism and uniqueness.

The models, which were constructed by various other artists, demonstrate the feeling and atmosphere that Schindler’s designs offer, while actual photographs of his completed works capture the grandeur that the models fail to express.

It is through the conjunction of Schindler’s drawings, models and photographs of his buildings that the viewer is ultimately able to understand Schindler’s intentions.

While holding the actual intentions of the building higher than his own personal interest, Schindler’s structure designs adhere to the general purpose of the buildings. The result is a building that is not only aesthetic, but functional as well.

While incorporating his own blend of functionality and aesthetics, Schindler designed each of his buildings so that separately they maintain their own individuality, however are still able to demonstrate his conceptual design ideas on a collective level. Each building is tailored to a specific client.

It is Schindler’s own ideas about experimentalism and individualism that make his works not only architectural masterpieces, but also artistic works that are at the forefront of modernism.

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