FD2 – The Big Three: Wright | Schindler | Neutra
The three most influential architects of the first half of the 20th century in America were Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. Wright came to Los Angeles to undertake the Hollyhock House commission from Aline Barnsdall and subsequently brought Schindler to Los Angeles from his office in Chicago to supervise construction as well as with his son, Lloyd Wright. The Hollyhock House was completed in 1922.
Schindler worked for Wright for four years in Chicago and Los Angeles before founding his own practice. His first completed project was his own King’s Road House with clear influences from Wright and Irving Gill. The design took full advantage of the Los Angeles climate with its openness and lightweight, predominately timber construction. Schindler designed the house for himself and his wife and another couple, the Clyde Chaces. Each couple had their own entrance and living area but shared a kitchen and guest quarters.
Richard Neutra worked briefly for Frank Lloyd Wright in LA before accepting an invitation from his close friend and university companion Rudolph Schindler to work and live communally in Schindler's Kings Road House. Neutra’s first work in Los Angeles was in landscape architecture, where he provided the design for the garden of Schindler’s Lovell Beach House (1922–5), designed for Philip Lovell, Newport Beach, and for a pergola and wading pool for Wright and Schindler’s Barnsdall House. As a result of his relationship with Philip Lovell, Neutra was commissioned to design the Lovell Health House in the Hollywood Hills.
The acclaim this design brought Neutra resulted in a relationship and loan from Case H. Van der Leeuw, a Dutch industrialist, to experiment and build his own home in Silver Lake. The resulting house became known as the VDL Research House. It was destroyed by fire in 1962 and rebuilt in 1964 with contributions from Neutra’s son, Dion, who was also an architect.
The Hollyhock House, the King’s Road House and the VDL House are three must-see examples of early 20th century architecture in Los Angeles. The Hollyhock House, VDL House and King’s Road House are open for interior tours. All houses have excellent exterior views.