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Mrz 2003

L.A.

intricacy

studienreise studio greg lynn


universitt fr angewandte kunst,wien
08.03.2003 - 23.03.2003

Amerika-Exkursion

content

Impressum
Architekturentwurf II Greg Lynn
Universitt fr angewandte
Kunst, Wien
Oliver Bertram
Christiane Feuerstein
Nina Lorber
Nathalie Rinne
2

Exkursionsteilnehmer:
Benmoussa, Hicham
Blaha, Reinfried
Cavallar, Claudia
Diederichs, Iris
Diem, Alexander
Diem, Eva
Dreger, Gnther
Edthofer, Anna
Fait, Cornelia
Galehr, Lukas
Koller, Michaela
Krainer, Andreas
Ozvaldic, Maja
Mcke, Johannes
Pollhammer, Marlene
Schendl, Katharina
Schneider, Sarah
Simma, Thimo
Spacek, Mariela
Spies, Martina
Steirer, Cornelia
Stcklmayr, Nicole
Wasshuber, Matthus
Wharton, Philip
Zangerl, Martin

Mrz 2003

part I
Itinerary
Maps

part II
Text collection

part III
Building collection

part IV
Literature

Amerika-Exkursion

PART I
itinerary

Mrz 2003

Itinerary
Date

City

Time

SA 08.03

Wien

08.00 Treffpunkt Schalter Austrian Airlines


(kein Gruppen check in mglich!)

LA

11.10
15.10
16.45
19.15

Comments

Abflug Wien Schwechat


Ankunft Washington - Dulles
Abflug Washington - Dulles
Ankunft LA - LAX (LA International)
Taxitransfer zum Hotel
Nchtigung
Cadillac Hotel
8 Dudley Avenue (at Ocean Front Walk)
Venice, CA 90291

SO 09.03

LA

09.00 Treffpunkt Hotellobby


Santa Monica Pier
Malibu
Lunch at Topanga Beach
Cruising Sunset Blvd/ Hollywood Blvd
Rodeo Drive (Prada Store, Rem Koolhaas)
Sunset at Ghetty Center (optional)

J.Paul Getty Center for the Fine Arts (Richard Meier, 1992-4)
Sunset Blvd/ San Diego Freeway

Amerika-Exkursion

Daytour La Pomona / Palm springs


MO 10.03

LA

07.00 Treffpunkt Lobby Hotel


07.15 Abfahrt mit Bus
09.30 Besichtigung Pomona
12.30 Weiterfahrt nach Palm Springs
14.30 Ankunft Palm Springs und
Besichtigungstour
20.00 Ende der Besichtigungstour

PS

Nchtigung
Desert hot springs hotel,
67710 San Antonio
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
Ramada Palm Springs

Diamond Ranch High School (Morphosis)


100 Diamond Ranch Drive

Pomona

California State Polytechnic University (Antoine Predock)


Classroom, Laboratory, Administration Building

Pomona

Frey House I (Albert Frey, 1940)


1150 Paseo El Mirador

Mrz 2003

Daytour La Pomona / Palm springs

Kaufmann House (Richard Neutra, 1947)


470 West Vista Chino

Bob Hope House (Lautner, 1979)


Southridge Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

Elrod House (Lautner, 1968)

2175 Southridge Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

Desert hot springs hotel (Lautner, 1947)

67710 San Antonio, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

Amerika-Exkursion

Date

City

Time

Comments

DI 11.03

PS

05.00 Abfahrt Hotel Bus


Busfahrt von Palm Springs nach Minden
16.00 Fhrung North Sails
Minden, Nevada
Tel: (775) 782 0

Nchtigung
Best Western Minden Inn
1795 Ironwood Drive
Minden, NV 894 23

North Sails
3DL competition sails production facilities

Minden, Nevada

MI 12.03

05.00 Abfahrt Hotel Bus


Busfahrt von Minden ber: 1, 2 oder 3 nLA.
Tour 1
ber Yosemite National Park

LA

Yosemite National Park

Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

Waterfalls, Meadows, forests, groves of giant Sequoias, world largest living


things

Sierra Nevada, CA

Mrz 2003

Date

City

Time

Comments

DO 13.03

LA

08.00 Treffpunkt Lobby Hotel

Daytour South

Daytour South mit Mietauto


Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

Lovell Beach House (Rudolf M. Schindler, 1926)


1242 Ocean Avenue
Newport Beach

CTEK, LLC

1402 Morgan Circle, Tustin, CA 92710


714 566 0231 - 714 566 0234 fax
CTEK is a design and development organization geared to serve and satisfy
the needs of prime manufacturers.
CTEK meets industries creative and technological standards of quality with a
proven track record for successfully meeting very challenging deadlines. Major
automakers trust its aesthetic sculpting expertise to render their 2D designs
into clay models. This styling quality is carried through into finished show cars
and limited production. CTEK integrates advanced automotive and aerospace
technology for creating complex contoured forms with exacting dimensional
control.

Spectrum, 3D, HITECH Welding, Porsche Designdepartment

Amerika-Exkursion

Daytour downtown

Date

City

Time

Comments

FR 14.03

LA

08.00 Treffpunkt Lobby Hotel


Daytour Downtown mit Mietauto
Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

SCI-Arc

960 E Third Street

Disney Concert Hall (Frank O. Gehry and Associates, 1988-94)


111 South Grand Avenue

MOCA (Arata Isozaki; Gruen Associates, 1986)


Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
205 South Grand Avenue, LA 90012

Cathedrale of our Lady of the Angels (Rafael Moneo, 2002)


Grand Avenue / Temple Street

10

Mrz 2003

Daytour downtown

Bradbury Building (George H. Wyman, 1983)


304 S. Broadway

California Aerospace Hall (Frank O. Gehry, 1984)


California Museum of Science & Industry
700 State Drive in Exposition Park, Los Angeles 90037

Loyola Law School (Gehry)


Loyola Marymount University
919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Tel (213) 736 - 1000

Chung King Road (China Town)


Chinese food + galleries

11

Amerika-Exkursion

Daytour Hollywood / Hills

Date

City

Time

Comments

SA 15.03

LA

08.00 Treffpunkt Lobby Hotel


Daytour Hollywood / Hills mit Mietauto
Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

Schindler Studio House/ MAK L.A.


833 N. Kings Road

Barnsdall Hollyhock House (F. L. Wright 1917-20)


Barnsdall Art Park
4808 Hollywood Bl.

(optional, maybe closed for renovation)

Ennis Brown (F.L. Wright, 1924)


2655 Glendower Avenue

Philip Lovell House (Richard Neutra, 1929)


4616 Dundee Drive

Pollari Somol House (Robert Somol and Linda Pollari)


Olympic Boulevard / Highland Ave.

12

Mrz 2003

Daytour Hollywood / Hills

Case Study House 21 (Pierre Koenig, 1958)


9038 Wonderland Park Ave.

Case Study House 22 (Pierre Koenig, 1959)


1635 Woods Drive

Shulman House/ Studio (Raphael Soriano )


Hollywood Hills, 7875 Woodrow Wilson

Leornard J. Malin House Chemosphere (John Lautner, 1960)


Los Angeles, 776 Torreyson Drive

Mullholland Drive

Overview of Los Angeles from the Hills

13

Amerika-Exkursion

Daytour Culver City /


Santa Monica

Date

City

Time

Comments

So 16.03

LA

08.00 Treffpunkt Lobby Hotel


Daytour Culver City/ Santa Monica
Visit Office Eric Owen Moss Architects
Visit Office F.O. Gehry and Associates
Visit Office GL Form
Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

Culver City
Ince (Eric Owen Moss Architects, 1987-90)

Paramount Laundry Building ()Eruc Owen Moss Architects, 1987)


3960 Ince Boulevard, Culver City 90232

Lindblade Tower (Eric Owen Moss Architects, 1989)


3958 Ince Boulevard, Culver City 90232

Gary Group Office Building (Eric Owen Moss Architects, 1990)


9046 Lindblade Street, Culver City 90232

National Building (Eric Owen Moss Architects, 1990)


8522 National Boulevard, Culver City 90232

14

Mrz 2003

Daytour Culver City /


Santa Monica

Chiat/Day Building (Frank O. Gehry with Clay Oldenburg and


Coosje van Bruggen, 1991)
340 South Main Street, Venice 90291

Edgemar Development (Frank O. Gehry)


2415-2437 Main Street

Gehry House

Washington Ave. / 22nd St

Case Study House 8 (Charles + Ray Eames)


203 Chautauqua Bl.

Case Study House 9 (Charles Eames + Saarinen)


205 Chautauqua Bl.

15

Amerika-Exkursion

Daytour Culver City /


Santa Monica

Ray Kappe House


715 Brooktree Road

Beagles House (Pierre Koenig)


17446 Revello Drive

Norton Residence (Frank O. Gehry, 1984)


2509 Ocean Front Walk, Venice 90291

16

Mrz 2003

Date

City

Time

Comments

Mo 17.03

LA

08.00 Treffpunkt Lobby Hotel

Daytour Pasadena / Silverlake

Daytour Pasadena/ Silverlake mit Mietauto


Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

Silver Lake - Colony of Neutra Houses


Silverlake Blvd., Los Angeles

VDL Research House II (Richard Neutra, Dion Neutra, 1966)


2300 Silverlake Blvd., Los Angeles

The Gamble House (Charles and Henry Greene, 1908)


Pasadena, 4 Westmoreland Place
http://www.gamblehouse.org

G.M. Milliard House La Miniatura (Frank L. Wright, 1923)


Los Angeles, 645 Prospect Crescent

Art Center College of Design (Craig Ellwood and Associates,


1977)
Los Angeles, 1700 Lida Street

Studio (Universal):
Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza,
Universal City, CA. 91608
1-800-UNIVERSAL
http://www.universalstudios.com
17

Amerika-Exkursion

Los Angeles

Date

City

DI 18.03

LA

Time

Comments
ZBV (zur besonderen Verfgung)
Nchtigung Cadillac Hotel, LA

Places of Interest:
Barnsdall House
4808 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1921
The Watts Towers (Simon Rodia)
Watts Towers Art Center
1727 East 107th Streets
LA, California 90002
Tel: 0213 - 847 46 46
Fax: 0213 - 564 70 30
Hollywood Bowl
Designed: Frank Lloyd Wright
Renovated: Frank Gehry
Graumanns chinese theatre
(Manns Chinese Theatre)
6925 Hollywood Boulevard
Meyer and Holler, 1927
Tischler House
175 Greenfield Avenue
R.M. Schindler, 1949
Danziger Studio
7001 Melrose Avenue at Sycamore Avenue
Frank O. Gehry, 1965
Bailey house (Neutra)
219 Chautauqua Bl.
Sten - Frenke House (Neutra)
126 Mabery Road
Ray Kappe House
715 Brooktree Road
Beagles House (Pierre Koenig)
17446 Revello Drive
Venice House (Antoine Predock, 1990)
2315 Ocean Front Walk (between 23rd and 24th Avenues)
Border grill restaurant (mexican food), Schweitzer BIM, 1989
1445 4th Street, Santa Monica
Rebeccas (Frank O. Gehry, 1985)
2025 Pacific Avenue, Venice 90291
18

Mrz 2003

Office Ove Arup & Partners (Morphosis, 1993)


2440 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 180, LA 90064

Los Angeles

Contempo casuals clothing store (Morphosis, 1987)


1801 Westwood Boulevard, LA 90024
Egyptian Theater (Meyer and Holler, 1922)
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Kingsroad Cafe
Shulman House (
7875 Woodrow Wilson Drive
Storer House (Wright)
8161 Hollywood Bl
Sturges House (Frank Lloyd Wright, 1939)
449 Skyewiay Road
Beverly Hills Civic Center (Charles Moore and the Urban Innovations Group,
1990)
Crescent Drive, Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills 90210
Kate Mantilini (Morphosis, 1987)
9101 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills 90210
Wosk Residence (Frank O. Gehry, 1984)
440 South Roxbury Drive at Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills 90210
Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center, Morphosis (Thom Mayne and
Michael Rotundi), 1986
8700 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood 90048
Salick Health Care Corporate Headquarters (Morphosis, 1991)
8201 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles 90048

Date

City

Time

Comments

MI 19.03

LA

05.00 Abfahrt Hotel mit Mietauto


Rckgabe der Mietwagen durch die Fahrer
bis sptestens (= Anmietzeit) am Flughafen

09.00 Abflug LA - LAX


NY

17.15 Ankunft New York - JFK


Mit Taxi zum Hotel
West End Inn
(850 West End Avenue ?)
NY, 10025
19

Amerika-Exkursion

New York
DO 20.03

NY

09.00 Treffpunkt
Tour Long Island City

Fr 21.03

NY

Sa 22.03

NY

09.00 Treffpunkt n. Vereinbarung


Tag zur freien Verfgung
16.00 Treffpunkt Flughafen JFK
18.50 Abflug New York (JFK)

So 23.3

09.20 Ankunft Wien - Schwechat

Programm New York:


a.

Half Day Tour Long Island City / Queens mit:

Korean Presbyterian Church, Queens


Long Island City, NY 43 05 37th Ave.

MOMA QNS

Long Island City, 33 Street at Queens Blvd.


by Subway:
E or V to 23 St/Ely Ave. Exit onto 44th to Jackson Ave.
Walk two blocks south on Jackson to 46th Ave.

P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center

Long Island City, 11101, 22-25 Jackson Ave at the


intersection of 46th Ave

b.

Visit Columbia University

c.

Visit Cooper Union

d.

united architects

e.

Reiser- Umemoto

f.

Asymptote

g.

Places of interest:

offices:

Brooklyn Bridge
Columbia University
Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
114. und 120.street
Mainbuilding McKim, Mead&White, 1893-1913
Building Tschumi

20

Mrz 2003

New York
Flatiron Building (D.H. Burnham & Co., 1903)
Schnittpunkt Broadway and Fifth Avenue
(Nhe Madison Square)
Metropolitan Life Tower and building
(Napoleon Le Brun & Sons, 1893), Madison Square
Chrysler Building
William van Allen, 1930
Empire State Building
(Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, 1931)
350 Fifth Avenue between 33. and 34.street
Rockefeller Center
(Associated architects, 1931-40)
Fifth to Sixth Avenue between West 48 and West 51
Lever House (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
(Gordon Bunshaft)), 1952
390 Park Avenue
Seagram Building
375 Park Avenue
Mies van der Rohe, 1958
Diller-Scofidio Bar
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue, between 88. and 89.street
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1959
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue (near 75.street)
Marcel Breuer and Hamilton Smith, 1966
AT&T Building
550 Madison Avenue (between 55. and 56.street)
Philip Johnson and John Burger, 1984
Times Square
World Financial Center
Battery Park City
Cesar Pelli & Associates, 1982 1988
MOMA - The Museum of Modern art
11 Wets 53rd Street
(currently closed)
Carnegie Hall
156 West 57th street
Statue of Liberty
Liberty Island, 1886
Stock exchange
(interieur Hani Rashid)
Prada Store Soho(OMA)
corner of Prince and Broadway
21

Amerika-Exkursion

PART II

22

Mrz 2003

THe Infinite game


On warm evenings, the homeless men who
live furtively in the wastelands of Crown
Hill like to set up old car seats and broken
chairs under the scorched palms to watch
the spectacle of dusk over Downtown Los
Angeles. They have ringside seats to enjoy
the nightly illumination of 26 million square
feet of prime corporate real estate, half of it
built in the last decade. This incomparable
light show and the plight of the homeless
themselves are the chief legacies of
a generation of urban redevelopment.
Thanks to over a billion dollars of public
subsidies and diverted tag revenues, the
suburbs in search of a city have finally
found what they were looking for.
Despite Reyner Banhams disparaging
1971 note (because that is all Downtown
Los Angeles deserves) that it had become
irrelevant, the center has held after all.1
Indeed, since the arrival of Pacific Rim
capital in the early 1980s, Downtown
Los Angeles has grown at warp speed.
The stylized crown on the top of Maguire
Thomass overweening new skyscraper,
the 73-story First Interstate World Center,
symbolizes the climax of redevelopment
in the new financial core from Bunker Hill
to South Park. Meanwhile, on every side
of the existing corporate citadel, panzer
divisions of bulldozers and wrecking
cranes are clearing the way for a doubling
or tripling of Downtown office space in
the 1990s. The desolate flanks of Crown
Hill itself (the Cinderella stepsister of
Bunker Hill, across the Harbor Freeway)
may become another glowing forest of
office towers and high-rise apartments
in a few years. And the homeless, their
ranks swollen by the displaced from the
redeveloped West Bank, will probably be
watching the nighttime special effects from
Elysian Park or beyond.
The terrible beauty struggling to be born
Downtown is usually called growth, but it
is neither a purely natural metabolism (as
neoliberals imagine the marketplace to be)
nor an enlightened volition (as politicians

and planners like to claim). Rather it is


better conceptualized as a vast game - a
relentless competition between privileged
players (or alliances of players) in which
the state intervenes much like a carddealer or croupier to referee the play. Urban
design, embodied in different master plans
and project visions, provides malleable
rules for the key players as well as a set
of boundaries to exclude unauthorized
play. But unlike most games, there is no
winning gambit or final move. Downtown
redevelopment is an essentially infinite
game, played not toward any conclusion
or closure, but toward its own endless
protraction. The Central City Associations
fairy-tale imagery of Downtown 2020
as a duster of urban villages offering
Manhattanized lifestyles and pleasures
is bunkum for the hicks. 2 Downtowns
only authentic deep vision is the same as
any casinos: to keep the roulette wheels
turning.
How the Game Started
Certain primordial facts organize the
playing of the game. Above all, there is
the ghost of sunk capital: a large part of
the spoils of the suburban speculations of
the early twentieth century - the subdivision
of Hollywood and the Valley were invested
in Downtown high-rise real estate in the
1900-1925 period. But these investments
(including the legendary patrimonies of the
Chandlers, Lankershims, and Hellmans)
were almost immediately imperiled by the
revolutionary tendency of the automobile to
disperse retail and office functions. 3 The
old-guard elite resisted this decentralization
(represented in the 1920s by the rise of
Wilshire Boulevard as a linear Downtown)
by marshaling an ironic municipal socialism
on behalf of the central business district. 4
The first priority of this recentering
crusade, led by the Los Angeles Times and
the Central Business District Association
(CBDA, later Downtown Businessmens
Association, then Central City Association

Mike Davis
aus: Dead Cities and other Tales, 2002

1 Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of

Four Ecologies, London 1971, p.201.


2 See Central City Association, Downtown 2000, Los
Angeles, 1985.
3 Cf. Scott Bottles, Los Angeles and the Automobile:
The Making of the Modern City, Los Angeles 1987,;
and Robert Fogelson, The Fragmented Metropolis: Los
Angeles 1850 - 1930, Cambridge, Mass. 1967.
4 For Downtown interests zealous but ultimately
unsuccessful crusade to use zoning against centrifugal
development, see Marc Weiss, The Los Angeles
Realty Board and Zoning, chapt. 4 in The Rise of the
Community Builders, New York 1987.

23

Amerika-Exkursion

5 Especially for the role of the Times, see Robert

Gottlieb and Irene Wolt, Thinking Big, New York


1977, pp. 152-55, 306-17. Big public projects have
been repeatedly used to revive or recycle real estate
values in declining sectors of Downtown. Thus
the construction of the Civic Center in the 1930s
bolstered the value of Times properties in the older,
circa1900 core area, which had been in decline after
the westward migration of the Downtown center in the
early 1920s.
6 Bottles, chapt. 4 and 5 of Los Angeles and the
Automobile; Central Business District Association, A
Quarter Century of Activities: 1924-1949, Los Angeles
1950; Mike Davis, Tunnel Busters: The Strange Story
of the Hollywood Subway unpublished, 1988; and
Steven Mikesell, The Los Angeles River Bridges,
Southern California Quarterly (Winter 1988).
7 See Sy Adler, Why BART But No LART? The
Political Economy of Rail Rapid Transit Planning in the
Los Angeles and San Francisco Metropolitan Areas,
1945-57, Planning Perspectives 2 (1987).
B. See David Brodsly, L.A. Freeway, Berkeley Calif.
1981, p. 96.
9 Rodolfo Acuna, A Community Under Siege: A
Chronicle of Chicanos East of the Los Angeles
River 1945-1975, Los Angeles 1980.
10 Frank Wilkinson, And Now the Bill Comes Due,
Frontier (October 1965).
11In 1956, Los Angeles had one of the largest skid
rows in the nation, with 15,000 residents in everything
from abandoned buildings to packing crates in alleys
and from 306 hotels to eleven flop-houses. See
Aubrey Haines, Skid Row Los Angeles, Frontier
(September 1956).

24

[CCA]), was to reinforce the concentration


of civic life within the core. Thus the publicprivate initiatives that constructed the
Biltmore Hotel and Memorial Coliseum in
the 1920s were followed in successive
decades by the creation of the Civic Center,
Dodger Stadium, the Music Center, and the
Convention Center.5
At the same time, the CBDA also mobilized
to keep the regions major traffic flows
centered on Downtown. Redistributing tag
revenue from the periphery to the center,
the city subsidized a heroic program of
transportation improvements. The Los
Angeles River was bridged by a series of
magnificent viaducts (1920-40), Downtown
streets were widened and tunneled
through Bunker Hill, the centralizing Major
Traffic Street Plan was adopted (1924),
rail commuters were taken underground
through Crown Hill in a Hollywood Subway
to the profit of the Chandlers and other
investors in the Subway Terminal Building
at Fourth and Hill (1925), and the main rail
lines were finally persuaded to consolidate
in a Union Station (1937-39).6 Repeated
campaigns by Downtown business groups
to recapitalize and grade-separate the
electric railroad and streetcar system (as
well as extend it via monorail into the
San Fernando Valley) were successfully
opposed between 1920 and 1970 by
suburban commercial interests.7 With
the support of city engineer Lloyd Aldrich
and the Southern California Automobile
Club, however, Downtown forces were
successful in persuading the state highway
department to accept a radial freeway grid
that minimized the destructive aspects
of decentralization and eventually made
Downtown the hub of eight freeways.8
The recentering of L.A. is even better
envisioned, however, as a succession of
social struggles between different interest
groups, classes, and communities. If
Downtown landowners have always been
pitted against the developers of Wilshire
Boulevard and suburban retail and, later,
office centers (now veritable outer cities),
there is also a bitter legacy of resentment
among San Fernando Valley homeowners,
who believe that their tag dollars have been
confiscated to improve Downtown. But
most of all, Downtown has been defended
at the expense of the working-class
communities on its immediate periphery.
An estimated 50,000 residents - Chinese,
Mexican, and Black - were displaced
to make way for such improvements
as Union Station, Dodger Stadium, the
Civic Center, industrial expansion east
of Alameda, central business district
(CBD) redevelopment on Bunker Hill,
city and county jails, and especially, the
eight freeways (always carefully routed to
remove homes, not industry). Chronicling
the story of Downtowns land grabs and
landuse dumping east of the river, Rodolfo
Acuna talks about a community under a
thirty-year siege. 9

Mrz 2003
For a few years in the early postwar
period, however, Downtown boosters
had to face the challenge of an ambitious
housing program that aimed to reconstruct,
rather than displace, the working-class
neighborhoods next to Downtown. Mayor
Fletcher Bowron, supported by the CIO and
civil-rights organizations, signed a contract
with the federal government under the
Housing Act of 1949, to make Los Angeles
the first slum-free city in the nation by
building ten thousand public housing
units in areas like Chavez Ravine and,
potentially, Bunker Hill. The Los Angeles
Community Redevelopment Agency was
established under state law to assist in
the assemblage of land for this purpose.
The vision of a stabilized, decently housed
Downtown residential fringe roused
vehement opposition, however, from CBD
landowners. Bowron and public housing
were defeated by hysterical red-baiting
orchestrated by the Los Angeles Times
and police chief William Parker in 1953.10
Anything that even smacked of a socialistic
rehousing strategy was henceforth
excluded from discussions of Downtown
renewal.
Early Game Plans
Infrastructural
improvement
alone,
however - even in tandem with Cold War
politics - could not prevent the relative
decline of Downtown. Postwar Los
Angeles continued to trade its old huband-spoke form for a decentralized urban
geometry. Although Downtown remained
the financial as well as governmental
center of Southern California through the
early 1960s, it inexorably saw its retail
customers migrate outward along Wilshire
Boulevard and eventually toward dozens
of suburban shopping centers. Moreover,
by 1964, as plans were completed to
create Century City - a Downtown for Los
Angeless Westside - out of an old movie
lot, the historic headquarters role of the
central business district was suddenly put
to question as well.
Embattled Downtown landowners were
virtually unanimous that the CBDs
great competitive disadvantage - even
more than the age of its building stock
(circa 1900-1930) - was the growing
accumulation of so-called blight along
Main Street (Skid Row) and in the old
Victorian neighborhood of Bunker Hill.11
The Hill, in fact, was a double obstacle,
physically cutting off the Pershing Square
focus of the business district from the Civic
Center as well as preventing the CBD from
egpanding westward. Public discussion
became riveted an images of dereliction,
ignoring the simple fact that most of the
Hills eleven thousand inhabitants were,
in fact, productive Downtown employees:
dishwashers, waiters, elevator operators,
janitors, garment workers, and so on.
The role of city government in the

redevelopment of the Hill had already


been egtensively debated before 1940.
In 1925, Allied Architects, denouncing the
Hill as an unsightly landmark ... blocking
business expansion to the west and
north, envisioned rebuilding it as a civic
acropolis of parks and public buildings.12
In contrast, C. C. Bigelow simply wanted
to obliterate the Hill by leveling it to the
Hill Street grade, and engineer William
Babcock in 1931 proposed a less drastic
regrading to buckle the new Civic Center to
Pershing Square. 13 Despite considerable
political support, both the Allied Architects
and Babcock schemes were defeated, and
by 1938, the city council threw in the towel
to let the natural forces of economics do
the job.14
The Bunker Hill debate resumed after
World War II with the advent of Greater Los
Angeles Plans, Inc. (GLAPI), sponsored
by an elite group that included Norman
Chandler and Asa Call (often described
by his contemporaries as L.A.s Mr. Big).
GLAPI actually bought land on Bunker
Hill for a music center, but found its plans
thwarted by the reluctance of voters to
approve the necessary bond issue (even
with a sports arena appended). In the
meantime, market forces were given a
chance to transform Bunker Hill. An early
1950s insurance-company scheme to
build upscale apartment towers on the Hill
(along the lines of Park LaBrea on Wilshire)
never managed to get beyond its directors
anxieties about investing in Downtown L.A.
A few years later, GLAPI believed that it
had convinced Union Oil to build its new
headquarters on Bunker Hill, but at the last
moment, the corporation instead chose
Crown Hill.15 In light of these failures,
piecemeal private-sector redevelopment of
Bunker Hill was abandoned.
Instead, the Community Redevelopment
Agency (CRA) - in original intention
a public housing agency - became
simultaneously the largest developer
Downtown and the collective instrument
of all the developers. Classically, like
other regulatory agencies, it was captured
by the very interests it was supposed to
regulate. Its mayoralIy appointed board
of seven was ideally shielded from direct
public scrutiny or electoral responsibility.
Moreover, it possessed autonomous
financial authority based on the use of
diverted tag increments. After the failure
of various private initiatives, the CRA
wrested the entirety of Bunker Hill from
its slumlords by invoking eminent domain.
The city council approved the final plan
for Bunker Hill in the spring of 1959, and
within eighteen months bulldozers began
demolishing the Hills Gothic mansions and
Queen Anne tenements.
The Hills population, meanwhile, was

12 See Civic Center Plan in Municipal League of Los


Angeles, Bulletin 2 (March 1925),p. 13.
13 Cf. William Babcock, Regrading the Bunker Hill

Area, Los Angeles 1931; and Pat Adler, The Bunker Hill
Story, Glendale, Calif. 1965.
14 Cited in William Pugsley, BunkerHill: The Last of the
Lofty Mansions, Corona del Mar, Calif. 1977, p. 27.
15 See Gene Marine, Bunker Hill: Pep Pill for
Downtown Los Angeles, Frontier (August 1959).
16 Cf. John Brohman, Urban Restructuring in

Downtown Los Angeles (M.A. thesis, School of


Architecture and Urban Platuvng, UCLA, 1983); and
Joel Friedman, The Political Economy of Urban
Renewal: Changes in Land Ownership in Bunker
Hill (M.A. thesis, School of Architecture and Urban
Planning, UCLA, 1978).
17 Centropolis I Economic Survey, December 1960:

Centropolis 2-General Development Plan, January


1962; Centropolis 3-Transportation Study, January
1963; and Centropolis 4-Master Plan, November
1964. The Central City Committee, appointed by
Mayor Norris Poulson in 1958, was chaired by Walter
Braunschweiger.

25

Amerika-Exkursion
simply dumped into other Downtown
areas. Although some ended up an Skid
Row, most of the 10.000 ex- Bunker Hill
residents were displaced to the west bank
of the Harbor Freeway, driving a salient
of blight and rack renting across the
Temple-Beaudry area well into the fashionable Westlake district. Twenty years
passed before the CRA bothered to establish a fund to rebuild the quarter of
Downtown housing units it had abolished
in this single stroke.16
While the CRA was clearing, regrading,
and assembling Bunker Hill into parcels
suited for sale to developers, the major
Downtown stakeholders (organized as
the Central City Committee [CCC]) were
helping CRA chairman William Sesnon and
city planners create a master plan to bring
about the rebirth of [the entire] Central
City. The 1964 plan, titled Centropolis,
was the first comprehensive design for
redevelopment: the product of a series of
studies that had begun with an economic
survey of Downtown in 1960.
Its core vision was the linkage of new
development on Bunker Hill with the
revitalization of the fading financial district
along Spring Street and the retail core
along Broadway and Seventh Street.
Pershing Square, still envisioned as the
center of Downtown, was to be modernized
with a large underground parking lot, the
beginning of Wilshire Boulevard was to
be anchored with a dramatic Wilshire
Gateway and El Pueblo de Los Angeles
historical park around Olvera Street was to
be completed.

18 Los Angeles Times, 4 November 1965 and 24


December 1972.
19 By 1967, the Wilshire corridor had seventy financial
headquarters versus forty-seven in the CBD. Only
oil companies maintained their high headquarters
concentration Downtown. (See Abraham Falick,
Transport Planning in Los Angeles: A Geo-Economic
Analysis Ph.D. thesis, Department of Geography,
UCLA, 1970, pp. 172-75.) Eugene Grisby and William
Andrews, moreover, claim that the CBD lost 40,000
jobs between 1961 and 1967. (See Mass Rapid
Transportation as a Means of Changing Access to
Employment Opportunities for Low-Income People
[paper for the fifteenth Annual Meeting, Transportation
Research Forum, San Francisco, October 1974].)
20 Gottlieb and Wolt, Thinking Big, p. 431. They
argue that the shadowy Committee of 25, organized
by Asa Call and Neil Petree with the support of the
Chandlers, was the ultimate invisible government
behind the CCCP and other epiphenomenal forms of
elite organization (pp. 457-58).
21 See Robert Meyers, The Downtown Plan Faces

Open Rebellion, Los Angeles (December 1975), p. 85.


22 Certainly the study played lip service to upgrading
Broadway and Seventh Street retail as well as
preserving Spring Street, but the greatest area of
opportunity defined by the Silverbook was expansion
southward, along the Figueroa axis, into the South
Park area.

26

The outstanding innovation of the plan,


however, was a proposal to link the major
structures in the retail core by means of
mid-block malls, with pedestrian circulation
lifted above the street an pedways. This
superstructure would unify prime property,
old and new, into a single vast Downtown
mall. At the same time, it addressed
department store concerns about an
enhanced definition of social areas and
the insulation of shoppers from bums.
Indeed, the rollback of Skid Row was
one of the plans major objectives. The
idea was to deploy new or augmented land
uses, including parking lots, a low-cost
shopping precinct, and a light industrial
strip along Main and Los Angeles Streets,
to create an effective buffer zone between
Skid Row and the born-again CBD.17
Just a year after the premiere of
Centropolis, the Watts rebellion and
the attendant white backlash almost
completely vitiated the plan and the seven
years of work that had gone into it. The
flames of August 1965 had crept to within
a few blocks of Downtowns southern
perimeter, causing the establishment to

lose its nerve. The McCone Commission


predicted that by 1990 the core of the
Central City of Los Angeles will be inhabited
almost exclusively by more than 1,200,000
Negroes, and the Los Angeles Police
Department warned Downtown merchants
against an imminent gang invasion
by Black youth (when encountered in
groups of more than two they are very
dangerous and armed).18 Faced with
such spectres, mortgage bankers and
leasing agents started talking about a
wholesale corporate defection to Century
City and the Westside, even the death of
Downtown. 19 As a result, landowners and
financiers jettisoned the central tenet of the
Centropolis plan - the renovation of the
historic core - and began to vote with their
feet: leaving the Broadway-Spring Street
corridor to decline and fall.
In the midst of crisis and flight, the Central
City Association rallied to save Downtown
by reinventing it. Rejecting as inadequate
the 1969 CBD plan prepared by city
planning director Calvin Hamilton, the CCA
established its own planning committee,
the Committee for Central City Planning,
Inc. (CCCP, a whos who of business
power), in substantial continuity with the
tradition and membership of both Greater
Los Angeles Plans, Inc. and the Central
City Committee.20 With the CCCP and
the city contributing $250.000 each, an
eminent planning firm, Wallace, McHarg,
Roberts and Todd of Philadelphia, was
hired to create a new urban design for the
post-Watts reality.
The firms Central City L.A., 1972-1990
became universally known as the
Silverbook because of its striking metallic
cover. Replacing the dead letter of
Centropolis, it adumbrated the political
and design principles that have guided
Downtown to the edge of the 1990s. For the
purposes of analysis, these guidelines can
be divided into two orders of importance:
dogmas and gadgets.
The dogmas, outlined below, gave new
directions to the redevelopment process
and established far-reaching goals for
public-private cooperation.
1. First, the Silverbook categorically
reasserted contra-Banham that Downtown
was the center of the Los Angeles
metropolitan area. As Robert Meyers
pointed out at the time, this directly
contradicted planning director Hamiltons
laboriously constructed Centers Concept:
the keystone of a city master plan
emphasizing polycentric development and
the equality of major growth poles. 21
2. The Silverbook also proposed a
dramatic enlargement of the Community
Redevelopment Agencys scale of planning
and tax-increment authority to include

Mrz 2003
virtually all of Downtown between Alameda
Street (on the east) and the Harbor (on the
west), Hollywood (on the north), and Santa
Monica (on the south) freeways.
3. The defense of the old office core was
abandoned in favor of resiting Downtown
a few blocks further west in the frontier
being cleared by the CRA on Bunker Hill
and along Figueroa between Fifth and
Eighth streets. 22 This was in essence a
disguised corporate bailout using diverted
tax monies. The chief role of the CRA was
envisioned as recycling land value from old
to new, as discounts on greenfield parcels
(together with rapid appreciation after
building) compensated stakeholders for the
depreciation of their obsolete properties in
the old core.
4. The new growth axis (supplanting the
Wilshire-Seventh Street-West direction
of the last wave of prewar Downtown
building) was established along Figueroa
and Grand, integrated at one end with
the Civic Center and pointing toward the
University of Southern California at the
other. The luxury apartment community
on Bunker Hill was to be counteranchored
at redevelopments prospective southern
frontier by a South Park Urban Village.
This envisioned southward flow of
Downtown fortuitously coincided with the
personal strategy of CCA president and
Occidental Insurance executive Earl Clark,
who had erected a solitary skyscraper
(today the Transamerica Center) at Olive
and Twelfth Streets, almost a mile south
of the center of new highrise construction.
The Silverbook plan, if implemented, would
bring Downtown and soaring land values to
Clarks speculative outpost.
5. Even while rotating the axis of
redevelopment ninety degrees from the
west to the south, Silverbook premised its
Downtown renaissance on the coordinated
construction of a new rapid-transit
infrastructure (Metro Rail) along the
Wilshire corridor (with an ancillary line
running toward South Central L.A.). At the
same time, the neighborhoods immediately
west of Downtown, across the Harbor
Freeway, were reserved as a periphery for
parking and CBD services.
6. Silverbook amended the corporate-renter
vision of Centropolis to a post-Watts
rebellion corporate-fortress strategy. Rather
than creating a pedestrian superstructure
to unify the old and new in a single
mall-like configuration as in the Centropolis
plan, new investment was now massively
segregated from old. In the CRAs actual
practice - more drastic than the model
- pedestrian access to Bunker Hill was
deliberately removed, Angels Flight (the
Hills picturesque funicular railroad) was
dismantled, and Hill Street, once a vital

boulevard, became a glacis separating the


decaying traditional business district from
the new construction zone.
7. Skid Row, circumscribed and buffered
in Centropolis, was now scheduled for
elimination, thus freeing up Central
City East for redevelopment as a joint
university communications center and
extension school.
In addition to these strategic dogmas, the
Silverbook unveiled a number of gadgets
to make the new Downtown cohere in an
efficient working order. Most important was
the proposed people-mover to distribute
office workers and shoppers from mass
transit terminals across the broad
spaces of Bunker Hill megastructures, to
individual buildings, and then, southward,
to South Park Village. 23 Similarly, the
elevated, grade-separated pedways of
the Centropolis plan were reintroduced
in Bunker Hill as a preferred option to
street-level pedestrian circulation. A
second-level plaza and pedway complex
(Bunker Hill East), again copied from
the previous plan, was envisioned as a
five-way, pivotal interface connecting
Bunker Hill, above street level, with the
Civic Center, Litde Tokyo, Central City
East (the reclaimed Skid Row), and a
corner of North Broadway. Downzoning
was proposed throughout the central
commercial core (excluding Bunker Hill)
to create a development rights bank
to be allotted or auctioned off according
to priorities defined by a prospective
Specific Plan. Finally, Silverbook had a
whole toolchest of miscellaneous gadgets
- ranging from a Downtown industrial
freeway to an in-town industrial park - to
stimulate new investment in the industrial
salient between Los Angeles and Alameda
Streets.
The political translation of the Silverbook
concepts into a legally valid blueprint
for the CRA-Central Business District
Redevelomment Plan 24 - encountered
unexpected opposition. Although only the
redoubtable Emani Bernardi opposed
passage of the plan through the
fifteen-member city council in July 1975, the
dissident councilman was soon reinforced
by powerful allies, including the county
board of supervisors, the county assessor,
and Sstate Senator Alan Robbins, a
mayoral aspirant from the Valley.25 They
joined Bernardi in suing the council to
prevent the CRA from diverting billions of
dollars of future tax increments (the
increase in assessments due to
redevelopment) from general fund uses.
As the debate grew increasingly nasty, the
CRA and its council supporters (backed by
new mayor Tom Bradley) argued that the
increments were essential to renewing
growth and jobs Downtown, where as

23 The proposed circulation system corresponded


entirely to the envisioned Figueroa corridor of the
southward-moving office and apartment construction,
completely ignoring the needs of tens of thousands
of existing workers in the garment center-a bias
reproduced in every subsequent phase of Downtown
transportation planning.
24 Although all the different proposed action areas

of the Silverbook were combined into one overall plan


and project area, Bunker Hill remained legally and
administratively separate under its original 1959 plan.
25 Councilman Donald Lorenzen, who had briefly left

the chambers to chat with an aide, later claimed that


his vote had been faked by another member to support
the plan. He subsequently endorsed the Bernardi
suit. See Meyers, The Downtown Plan Faces Open
Rebellion, p. 82.
26 The Downtown leadership brazenly proposed to
destroy the old library (now recognized as Downtowns
most distinguished architectural landmark) in order to
create a development greenfield while simultaneously
using the new facility to roll back Latino intrusions
in the vicinity of the May Company and Broadway
department stores. A study commissioned by Meyer
and Helfeld in 1976 brilliantly rebuked the myth of
Broadway blight. See Charles Kober Associates,
BroadwaylCentral Library: Impact Analysis, Los
Angeles 1976.

27

Amerika-Exkursion
opponents insisted that a handful of large
property owners - led by Security Pacific
Bank, Prudential Life Insurance, and
the Times Mirror Company - stood to reap
a windfall at public expense. In the end,
before the CBD plan was allowed to take
effect, Bernardi and the county forced the
CRA (in 1977) to accept a consent decree
capping the tax-increment bond-issuing
capacity of the project at $750 million.
Meanwhile, the CRA bureaucracy itself,
under commission chairman Kurt Meyer (a
well-known L.A. architect) and administrator
Edward Helfeld, balked at the CCAs
demand that the agency implement the
Silverbook to the letter. Wallace, McHarg
proposals for a large lake in South Park
and the university complex on Skid Row
were rejected as unfeasible (privately, the
CRA thought them preposterous), and
Meyer and Helfeld took a principled stand
against a Charles Luckman scheme to
move the central public library to Broadway
to serve as a buffer between Latino small
businesses and the remnant upscale
shopping precinct an Seventh Street. 26
Most of all, they railed against the CCCPs
attempt to perpetuate itself as the CRAs
shadow government. Although the CCA,
under the urging of Franklin Murphy of
Times Mirror, ultimately wound down its
parallel planning arm, Downtown leaders
did not forget, or forgive, the disobedience
of Meyer and Helfeld. After Meyer
resigned (officially to return to his busy
architectural practice), he was replaced
by a consummate wheeler-dealer and
CCA ally, construction trades spokesman
Jim Wood. A few years later, the CCA
combined forces with Helfeld foes on the
planning commission and city council to
purge the controversial CRA administrator.

27 See J. Gregory Payne and Scott Ratzan, Tom


Bradley: The Impossible Dream, Santa Monica, Calif:
1986, pp. 142-43, 149-50.
28 See Dick Turpin in the Los Angeles Times, 21

September 1986-confirmed by the National Real Estate


Investor (December 1986), p. 102: the higher estimate
is from Howard Sadlowski in the Los Angeles Times,
17 June 1984.
29 Stephen Weiner of Bear Stearns quoted in National
Real Estate Investor (December 1986), p. 132.

28

Japan Ups the Ante


Having cleared the initial hurdle of political
opposition, however, the central business
district plan still had to prove that it
could command the requisite levels of
investment from private developers. The
Silverbook had coincided with the epochal
transition in city hall from Sam Yorty to
Bradley, and the Downtown old guard was
initially skeptical of what to expect from Los
Angeless first Black mayor with his coterie
of South-Central ministers and wealthy
Westside liberals. But Bradley, as his
biographers emphasize, took great pains
from the very beginning to conciliate the
powerful Downtown interests. Moreover, in
the latter part of his first term, a vice arrest
- which most insiders believed was set
up - led to the dismissal of Maury Weiner,
his liberal chief deputy and bete noire of
conservative critics. Weiners replacement,
to the chagrin of liberals, was a Pasadena
Republican, Ray Remy (later head of the
Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce). The
new deputy mayor was instrumental in

consolidating the rapprochement between


the mayor and the Central City Association.
Bradley supported by the powerful building
trades wing of the local labor movement,
became an aggressive proponent of the
CBD plan and the strategy outlined in the
CCAs Silverbook. 27
With city hall (and a city council majority)
routinely approving every request of the
developers lobby (or abdicating power to
the CRA), new capital was encouraged to
flow into Downtowns greenfields. If there
were just five new high rises above the
old earthquake limit of thirteen floors in
1975, there are now fifty. Moreover, as the
game picked up pace, purely speculative
trading also increased, with perhaps a third
of Downtown changing hands between
1976 and 1982. Ironically, as the ante
has risen, many of the original champions
of Downtown renewal, including large
regional banks and oil companies with
troubled cash flows, have had to cash in
their equity and withdraw to the sidelines.
As Volckerism first created a superdollar
and then destroyed it, the volatile US
commercial real estate markets favored
highly liquid investors and foreign capital.
Downtown simply became too big for
local interests to dominate. Thus in
1979 the Times reported that a quarter
of Downtowns major properties were
foreign-owned; six years later the figure
was revised to 75 percent (one authority
has even claimed 90 percent). 28 The
first wave of foreign investment in the
late 1970s, as in Manhattan, was led by
Canadian real estate capital, epitomized
by Toronto-based Olympia and York. The
Reichmann clan, which owns Olympia
and York, collects skyscrapers like the
mere rich collect rare stamps or Louis XIV
furniture. Yet since 1984, they, along with
the New York insurance companies and
British banks, have been swamped by a
tsunami of Asian finance and flight capital.
What the Japanese call zaitech, the
strategy of using financial technologies
to shift cash flow from production to
speculation, has radically restructured
Downtowns investment portfolios and
given a new impetus to the realization
of the CBD redesign (indeed, they have
become its major motive force). As the
superyen and foreign protectionism slowed
domestic industrial reinvestment in Japan,
giant corporations and trading companies
shifted black ink abroad in search of
lucrative foreign assets. The liquid
resources of other investors have simply
been dwarfed by the sheer mass of the
Japanese trade surplus, which has rapidly
found its way from US treasury bonds to
prime real estate. In the particular case of
Downtown Los Angeles, the superyen of
the late 1980s put the skyscrapers along
Figueroas gold coast at rummage-sale

Mrz 2003
discounts compared to Tokyo real
estate. A virtually unknown condominium
developer, Shuwa Company Ltd., stunned
the Downtown establishment in 1986 by
purchasing nearly $1 billion of L.A.s new
skyline, including the twin-towered ARCO
Plaza, in a single two-and-a-half-month
buying spree. As local real estate analysts
complained at the time, The major
japanese companies are borrowing at
very cheap rates, usually 5% or less. They
borrow in Japan [in Shuwas case, through
ten L.A: branches of Tokyo banks], deduct
it from their taxes in Japan, convert it to
dollars, and invest in dollars in the United
States. 29
In singing praise to the miracle of the Pacific
Rim economy, Los Angeles boosters in
the 1980s generally avoided reference to
the specific mechanism of the Downtown
boom. But, to the extent that Japanese
capital was now the major player, the
Downtown economy had become illicitly
dependent an the continuation of the
structural imbalance that recycled US
deficits as foreign speculation in American
assets. In a word, it had become addicted
to US losses in the world trade war, and
bank towers on Bunker Hill were rising
almost in direct proportion to plant closings
in East Los Angeles and elsewhere in
the nation. The Downtown renaissance
had become a perverse monument to
deindustrialization.
But the ironies of international geopolitics
were scarcely noted by the Community
Redevelopment Agency. Its concern
was, rather, that the very success of
Downtown redevelopment was imperiling
the agencys raison detre. By 1989-90,
the CRA, working hand-in-glove with
offshore capital, had reached the limits of
the 1977 Bernardi cap, endangering its
hegemony in the central business district
and setting off a complex process of
plan redesign and political negotiations.
Before analyzing this new conjuncture,
however, it is first necessary to draw a
notional balance-sheet of redevelopment
in the fifteen years since the creation of
the CBD project. To what extent has the
grand design, la Silverbook, actually
been realized, and how has it been further
modified?
First, there have been some strategic
setbacks. Skid Row, slated for demolition
(or deinstitutionalization, in the Orwellian
language of the Silverbook), has survived,
however infernally, largely as the result
of council members fear of the spillover
of the homeless into their districts. This
has led Little Tokyo to expand eastward,
along First Street toward ehe Los Angeles
River, rather than southward as expected.
And despite the deliberate siting of the
Jewelry Mart an its eastern margin,

the redevelopment of Pershing Square


(a subsidiary goal of the Silverbook)
languishes two decades behind schedule,
with street people in occupation of the park
and the developers squabbling among
themselves. As a result, the Biltmore Hotel,
in designing its recent tower annex, rotated
its main entrance 180 degrees to face the
library - the new focal point of Downtown.
(The library, in turn, was left in place, contra
earlier plans, because its air rights were
used to add density to the huge Maguire
Thomas projects across the street.)
More serious still are the transportation
anomalies in the realized Downtown
design. In the Silverbook, the viability of the
new Downtown depended upon the
articulation of Wilshire-axis mass transit
with a pedestrian distribution system
along the new Figueroa corridor. Although
those in the CRA talk wistfully of
reviving the scheme, federal funding for
the people-mover - a proposed $250 million system of airportlike moving sidewalks
- was vetoed by the Reagan administration
after heavy lobbying by opponents from the
San Fernando Valley. This
has marooned pedestrians in the various
megastructures Downtown and left a
useless $30 million people-mover tunnel
underneath Bunker Hill. 30
The fate of Metro Rail has been stranger
still. After loud protests from Westside
homeowners, Metro Rail was diverted
from Wilshire, at Western, to run north
through Downtown Hollywood and then
under the mountains to North Hollywood.
This suits some CRA leaders and their
developer friends, since it links three
major
redevelopment
projects
and
creates a continuous corridor of real
estate speculation.31 The environmental
impact report of the Southern California
Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) forecasts
a staggering 50 million square feet of new
commercial development (virtually two new
Downtowns) centered on eleven Metro Rail
stations.32
But the current alignment also negates
the original economic rationale for subway
construction, since only the Wilshire
corridor currently has the population
density to generate an amortizing ridership
for Metro Rail. As a result, Metro Rail faces
a very likely danger of insolvency, while
most Downtown commuters (coming from
the Westside or, especially, the San Gabriel
Valley to the east) will continue to rely an
their cars. Metro Rail, at least in its current
configuration, will act as an Archimedean
lever to increase development densities
in the CBD-Hollywood-North Hollywood
corridor without mitigating current levels of
congestion Downtown (but more on traffic
in a moment). 33
In vindication, the CRA and its supporters

30 See Davis, Tunnel Busters, pp. 34-38. In the


summer of 1990, rumors began to fly that the CRA
was considering a monorail system to link nodes of
development Downtown.
31 The Southern California Rapid Transit District is

proposing to impose $75 million in special taxes an


the ninety-eight hundred commercial property owners
who stand to profit most from proximity to eleven Metro
Rail Phase II stations. In an ominous precedent for
the plan, however, MCA Inc., which owns Universal
City (an unincorporated enclave) in Cahuenga Pass
between Hollywood and Burbank, seems to have found
a technical loophole to avoid assessment, although the
entertainment conglomerate is planning massive new
development next to its Metro Rail station (see Los
Angeles Business Journal, 15 January 1990).
32 SCRTD, Los Angeles Rail Rapid Transit Project SE/
S/ SE/ H, draft (November 1987),Table 3-21, p. 3-2-13.
33 In my view, Los Angeless emerging transportation

infrastructure will restructure land uses (and social


groups) without necessarily alleviating gridlock. Thus
Metro Rail will be a powerful link between development
nodes (strengthening their sales value to offshore
capital), whereas Light Rail (Downtown to Long Beach)
will allow Downtowns low-wage workers to commute
from a more dispersed labor-shed (opening up new
development space in the CBDs periphery), It is
unclear, however, whether any of this mass transit
development will actually reduce freeway usage by
Downtown office workers and professionals commuting
from the valleys and the Westside.
34 On the internationalization of

Downtownredevelopment and the newpolitical alliances


created in its wake, see Mike Davis, Chinatown,
Part Two1 The Internationalization of Downtown Los
Angeles, New Left Review 164 (July/August 1987).
35 There has been a double restructuring of power
an the West Coast. On the one hand, San Francisco
has been supplanted as a financial capital by Los
Angeles. On the other hand, Los Angeles capital
has increasingly been overshadowed by the arrival
of the big Tokyo and New York banks, whose local
headquarters are Downtown. Booster hyperbole about
the ascendancy of Los Angeles typically focuses an the
first of these phenomena and ignores the second.
36 As Edward Soja has pointed out, the Los

Angeles case is a unique combination of industrial


decline (unionized auto, tire, and steel plants) and
revival (military aerospace and new sweatshop
manufacturers). In local impact, however, the loss of
high-wage branch-plant jobs has had a devastating and
long-term impact an Chicano and Black communities
uncompensated by the addition of new high-tech jobs
in the Valley or minimum-wage garment-making jobs
Downtown. See Soja, L.A.s the Place: Economic
Restructuring and the Internationalization of the Los
Angeles Region, in Postmodern Geographies, London
1989.
37 Compare Brohman, Urban Restructuring in
Downtown Los Angeles, p. 111: and Friedman, The
Political Economy of Urban Renewal, p. 261.

29

Amerika-Exkursion
can Claim that, whatever setbacks
or anomalies may have occurred, the
agency has triumphally achieved the
central vision of the Silverbook. A new
financial district has taken shape an the
east bank of the Harbor Freeway, with its
skyscraper pinnacle along Grand, focused
on the library, and pointing southward
toward the expanded Convention Center
and USC. Because this successful
recentering has been largely fueled by a
land rush of Asian and Canadian capital, it
has simultaneously transferred ownership
to absentee foreign investors. 34 Yet there
is little anxiety Downtown that the ultimate
economic control panels are thousands of
miles away. Although CBD Downtown
office space remains a surprisingly small
fraction of the total regional inventory,
more power - in the form of financial
headquarters and $400-per-hour firms is
now concentrated Downtown than at any
time since the 1940s. 35
Who Wins, Who Loses?
Creating this physical infrastructure
for international finance has been
unquestionably the chief policy objective
- and accomplishment - of the Bradley
administration since 1973. More than mere
urban renewal, Downtown redevelopment
has also been the citys major economic
strategy for creating jobs and growth. In
the face of deindustrialization of its older,
nondefense, branch-plant economy, the
City has gambled an creating office jobs.36
Has it worked? And who has benefited ?

38 My anonymous informant (interviewed in the


fall of 1989 for the L.A. Weekly) was referring to
give-aways and discounts, an one hand, and to
positive egternalities (public investments raising
private equities) an the other. The total present value of
post-1975 private investment in Downtown is probably
around $8 billion.
39 Interviewed for the L.A. Weekiy in the fall of 1989.
A survey of other public agencies revealed a similar
ignorance of the economic impact of redevelopment.
40 See Glendale Redevelopment Agencys myriad
brag-sheets and press releases. Glendale, just a
few miles north of Downtown L.A., is also planning
to dramatically upscale its Galleria mall to Rodeo
Drive standards-another move that will steal thunder
(and customers) from CRA-backed retail development
Downtown.
41 Again, CBD chief Spivak (in the interview noted
in footnote 39) confessed that the CRA had never
considered or studied the question of back-office
investment as an opportunity in its own right.
42Downtown News, 16 November 1987.

30

Certainly the major private-sector players


have exploited a real estate bonanza.
Speculators
and
developers
have
consistently realized large windfalls from
Community Redevelopment Agency writedowns and the equity-raising effects of
public investment. For example, the CRA
bought sixteen rundown parcels at Fourth
and Flower streets in the early 1960s for
$3 million; in the early 1970s, despite the
explosion in property values, it discounted
the combined parcel to Security Pacific
Bank for a mere $5.4 million. By 1975,
the land alone was worth more than
$100 million. In another instance, Richard
Riordan, a prominent local speculator
and mortgage banker, bought property
in 1969 at Ninth and Figueroa for $8
per square foot; within a decade, it had
soared to $225 per square foot. (Riordans
successes
have
attracted
unusual
attention because he is a major contributor
to Mayor Bradley and a member of two
city commissions.)37 A veteran Downtown
real estate and corporate-leasing expert
has guesstimated that the $1 billion that
the CRA has invested in Bunker Hill and
the central business district has helped
generate at least one billion, perhaps
two billion dollars worth of sheer profit

for Downtown players, above and beyond


their own outlays. 38
City hall - while in effect promoting
Downtown redevelopment as industrial
policy - has never bothered to collect
accurate figures an the new employment
generated by the high-rise boom. As a
result, conventional cost-benefit analysis
is impossible. Don Spivak, the CRAs
manager for the entire CBD project during
the 1980s, confessed in an interview that
the agency had no idea how many jobs for
women or minorities have been created, or
what has been their per capita cost. 39
Likewise, while city hall has been throwing
$90.000 topping-off parties for new
skyscrapers, it has paid no attention to
the success of outlying areas in capturing
the back office jobs (number crunching
and data processing) that are such vital
employment multipliers for entry-level
clericals. Thus Glendale (a city that in
the last census had 450 Black residents
out of a population of nearly 130.000) has
managed to snare 3 million square feet of
secondary bank, insurance, and real estate
investment - becoming as a result the third
largest financial center in the state.40
Other major back office complexes have
grown up in Chatsworth, Pasadena, City
of Commerce, and Brea (the main base
for Security First National). The CRAs
indifference to the new geography of
service jobs is disturbing since these are
precisely the kind of compensatory jobs
that East and South Central Los Angeles
- hard hit by plant closings - desperately
need, and which presumably might have
located there if the city had linked frontoffice development rights Downtown with
back-office investment in the surrounding
inner City. 41
The CRAs record in Downtown housing
has also been considerably obfuscated in
agency propaganda. Planners maintain
that the creation of a jobs-housing
balance Downtown - both to mitigate
traffic congestion and to generate a
residential base for a 24-hour Downtown
- is one of their major priorities. Yet the
CRA, which defines Downtown objectives
almost exclusively in terms of middle-class
populations and needs, ignores the jobshousing equilibrium that exists between
the garment industry (Downtowns other
major industry) and surrounding Latino
neighborhoods. It is precisely this existent
balance that is now threatened on every
side by agency projects (for example, the
removal of nearly four thousand people for
the recent Convention Center extension)
and other public-private initiatives (the
potential 10,000 West Bank residents who
may be forced out by the proposed specific
plan in that area, for example).

Mrz 2003
The CRA was badly embarrassed in March
1989 when Legal Aid analysts proved
that the agency had been deliberately
misleading the public by counting cots in
Skid Row shelters as units of affordable
family housing. Because neither the
agency nor city hall has accurately
monitored the destruction of housing by
private action Downtown, it is virtually
impossible to construct an overall
Balance sheet of the housing record of
redevelopment.
A quarter-century after the clearance
of 7310 units an Bunker Hill, the CRA
claims to have finally constructed their
replacements, although most are outside
the Downtown area and only a quarter
are section 8, or very low income, like
those originally destroyed. Setting aside
the rehabilitation of Skid Row hotel and
shelter rooms, it would appear from the
agencys tangled statistics that it has
so far increased the citys net stock of
affordable housing (after deducting
units demolished by agency action) by
slightly more than 1000 units. Mach of this,
however, is actually gentrification - that
is, replacing lost very low income units
with more expensive moderate income
units (an income differential as great as
$21,000). In conversations with CRA staff,
it was apparent that they conceptualize
affordable housing as integrating legal
secretaries and school teachers, not
garment workers or janitors, into the new
Downtown community. 42
At the end of the day, and in lieu of any
official cost-benefit assessment, the
redevelopment game yields the following
approximate scores:
1. A tripling of land values Downtown since
1975, thanks to public action.
2. Zero increment in property taxes
available for general-fund purposes
(schools, transportation, welfare).
3. Thirty-five to forty thousand commuter
office
jobs
added
to
Downtown
(presumably these jobs would have ended
up somewhere in the region anyway - the
CRA did not create them, but merely
influenced their location).
4. A small net increment of affordable
housing scattered around the city, which
would probably be canceled out if statistics
on private demolition were available.
5. A series of ineffable and questionable
public benefits (for example, Downtown
culture, being a World City, having a
center, and so on).
6. The yet uncalculated negative
externalities generated by redevelopment

(that is, the additional traffic load, pollution,


neglected investments in other parts of the
city, negative tax impact an other services,
and so on).
In addition, a full balance sheet an
redevelopment would have to estimate the
corrupting impact of centermania on city
politics. City hall and the Downtown
development community interpenetrate to
such a profound extent that it has
become literally impossible to tell where
private capital ends and the Bradley
administration begins. The resulting trade
in influence is a miniature mirror of
the military-industrial complex. Just like
retired Air Force generals rushing off
to fat sinecures on the boards of the
aerospace industry, the illuminati of city
hall Art Snyder (ex-councilman), Dan
Garcia (former planning commissioner),
Tom Houston (former deputy mayor), Fran
Savitch (ex mayoral lieutenant),
Maureen Kindel (ditto), and now Mike
Gage (another ex-deputy mayor), to give
an incomplete list inevitably seem to end
up as lobbyists for Bulldozers. With
such an extreme concentration of Los
Angeless best minds on moving dirt (and
thus creating lucrative second careers for
themselves) it is not surprising that
lesser priorities - like jobs, safety, health,
and welfare in South Central Los Angeles - have been so neglected.
Disneyfying Downtown South
The social costs of Downtown growth will
rise steeply in the next decade. But before
analyzing the destabilizing impact of
emerging countergames (the West Bank)
and side-moves (Central City North,
South, and East), let us first consider how
the Community Redevelopment Agency
proposes to play out the rest of its central
business district hand. With construction
in the new core in the moppingup stages
(including a controversial plan to demolish
historic structures on Seventh Street), the
focus of the CRA has shifted to the poles
of CBD development: South Park and the
Third Street corridor between Bunker Hill
and Little Tokyo.
South Park, as we have seen, was a
coinage of the 1972 Silverbook. The idea
was to create a mixed-income urban
village of clericals and professionals to
brighten the face of Downtown around
the Convention Center and to extend
redevelopment in the direction of the
University of Southern California campus.
43 Although the CRA reaffirmed a South
Park plan in a 1982 rewrite of development
guidelines (eventually extending area
boundaries south of Seventh and west of
Main to the two freeways), speculators had
plenty of time to bid up land values to as
much as $300 per square foot before the
agency finally acted to assemble parcels.

43 See Dick Turpin, Downtown Expansion to Take


Southerly Direction, Los Angeles Times, 9 February
1986.
44 Developers fought like tigers to rezone South Park

for offices. Ultimately an Urban Institute Panel had to


be brought in to adjudicate whether, in light of land
values, it was still possible to develop a residential
community in the area. See Urban Land (September
1987), pp. 13-17; also Los Angeles Business Journal,
19 October 1987.
45 An internal CRA memo secured by the L.A. Weekly
indicates that the agency wants to spend a further
$372 million an developing South Park See Ron
Curran, The Agency at a Crossroads, L.A. Weekly,
28 March 1990. Curran has been the only Journalist
in Los Angeles to doggedly follow the CRt1s footsteps
over the last five years, and his many articles in the
Weekly are essential reading for anyone interested in
Downtown L.A. or the politics of redevelopment.
46 Los Angeles Times, 25 June 1989. See also, ibid.,
10 January 1988.
47 Just as Glendale has waylaid back-offce jobs, so

too is Long Beach preparing to hijack Downtowns


convention trade. With nearly as much convention
space as Downtown and a new oceanfront cityscape
under construction an the site of the former Pike
(once the West Coasts Coney Island), as well as a
potential Disneyland II next to the Queen Mary, Long
Beach (like Anaheim in Orange County) is geared up
for competition.

31

Amerika-Exkursion
In the face of such land inflation, even
luxury units in South Park now require
large subsidies.
South Parks massive need for public
financing is probably the major item an
CRAs hidden agenda in the struggle
to remove the cap on tax increments in
the central business district.45 The CRA
sticks obdurately to the dogma that South
Parks critical mass (a projected build-out
population of 25,000) is absolutely necessary to transform Downtown into a true
community (poor people evidently do not
count) and to shore up street-level leases
and overall CBD property values into
the twenty-first century. Not surprisingly,
housing activists have attacked the
premise that the yuppification of South
Park should be the citys top residential
priority. Thus Michael Bodaken of Legal
Aid (now Mayor Bradleys housing advisor), in a 1989 Times interview, denounced
the $10 million subsidy that the CRA had
furnished to Forest City Properties to build
$1200-per-month apartments in South
Park. It is just unbelievable that the city
is subsidizing developers with millions of
dollars to lure yuppies Downtown. This city
is the homeless capital of the nation. The
money ought to be earmarked for homeless
shelters and lowincome housing. 46
Housing advocates have also criticized the
relocation of an entire residential community
in order to expand the Convention Center,
the other major component of the South
Park plan. The $390 million expansion the single largest bond issue in Downtown
history - is headed for troubled waters as
Calmark Holding Co., the developer of an
adjacent super-hotel, collapses under the
weight of its junkbonds. Without Calmarks
$400 million Pacific Basin Hotel - the
largest ever planned in Southern California
- the expanded Convention Center would
be left without a single hotel room within
walking distance. 47

48 Quoted in Leon Whiteson, Los Angeles Times, 22


March 1990.
49 Cf. Miracle an Broadway-Annual Report 1989;

Downtown News, 10 February 1990; Los Angeles


Business Journal, 6 November 1989: Los Angeles
Times, 10 and 27 February, 9 April, and 22 September
1989.
50 Cf. Los Angeles Times, 16 October; and Downtown

News, 16 October 1989.


51 See CRA, Memorandum: Historic Core Three-Year
Work Program, 21 December 1988.

32

On the rim of South Park (Eighth Street


and the Harbor Freeway), a jocularly
named monstrosity called Metropolis is
being designed by Michael Graves, current
house architect for the Disney Corporation
and tongue-in-cheek author of the Disney
World Hotel, decorated with giant swans,
and the Burbank Disney headquarters with
its columnar figures of the Seven Dwarves.
Impervious, like most architects, to the
social impact of his multimillion-square-foot
project on surrounding streets and
neighborhoods, his concern is instead
focused an making Metropolis a total
experience for its corporate users. As
design critics have appreciated, the arrival
of Graves marks a new era Downtown,
a shift from stern skyscraper monoliths
and fortresses to more livable and
playful environments. He plans colorful

glazed bands, party hat roof lines, and


flashy octagonal pavilions atop some of
his towers. A key decorative element will
be a six-story base of turquoise terra
cotta-intended, according to Graves, to
show where Daddy works.48 Indeed.
Reaganizing the Historic Core
Gentrification is also the municipal
objective in the area between Bunker
Hill and Little Tokyo. Back in Silverbook
days, as we have seen, Third and
Broadway figured as Bunker Hill East,
a kind of urban universal-gear meshing
Bunker Hill, the Civic Center, and Little
Tokyo. The fortification of Bunker Hill,
however, preduded such interaction, and
Broadway became instead the premier
Spanish-language shopping street in North
America. Now, with the Hill fully secured
and almost completely redeveloped, the
Community Redevelopment Agency is
reviving the idea of a pivotal interface
(read: yuppie corridor) to allow the free
circulation of white-collar workers and
tourists in the northern part of the central
business district.
The anchor of this gentrification strategy
is the new Ronald Reagan State Ofice
Building. The CRA spent more than $20
million in direct subsidies to induce the
state to bring three thousand office workers
to Third and Spring as the shock troops of
the areas uplift. Both the Broadway
Spring Center, across from the state
building, and the new L.A. Times parking
garage, on Broadway north of Third, have
been ingeniously designed with CRA and
LAPD expertise to provide high-security
pedestrian passageways, with surveillance
cameras, private guards, and steel-stake
fencing, to allay the anxieties of white-collar
workers.
The
direct
beneficiaries
of
the
Reaganization of the area are two chief
Bradley backers: Ira Yellin, owner of the
Bradbury Building, the Grand Central
Public Market, and the Million Dollar
Theater Building (all at the corner of
Third and Broadway), and his friend and
associate, Bruce Corwin, proprietor of
various Broadway theaters and largest
contributor to the recent defense fund for
the embattled mayor. Yellin and Corwin
have for a long time been the principal
players in the CRA-financed Miracle an
Broadway association. Now they plan
to exploit the captive clientele from the
Reagan Building (as well as from the
Times and Bunker Hill) to create a Grand
Central Square with upscale restaurants,
condos, and ofices. Restoration architect
Brenda Levin has been hired to weave
together the historical fabric of the Million
Dollar Building with the market and a new
ten-story parking garage. The CRA has
buttered the way by allowing Yellin to cash

Mrz 2003
in the air rights of the Bradbury and Million
Dollar Theater buildings for $12 million (a
complex subsidy that after sale to another
developer will eventually be costed to the
public as further traffic congestion). As
Spivack of the CRA put it, the deal-making
on Broadway was a win-win situation,
the real miracle being the CRAs
extraordinary willingness to bankroll Yellin
and Corwin. 49
Another component necessary to complete
the corridor between Bunker Hill and Little
Tokyo is the removal of the Union Rescue
Mission - and its crowds of homeless men
- from Second and Main, next door to Saint
Vibianas Cathedral. It is rumored that
relocation of the mission is part of the deal
the CRA made with the state to get the
Reagan Building. Moreover, Archbishop
Mahony was reported to have lobbied the
CRA (whose chief, John Tuite, is an former
priest) to shift the eyesore away from
his doorstep. Even so, there was some
consternation when the CRA suddenly
announced in September 1989 that it was
offering the Mission $6.5 million to move
- nearly four times the appraised value of
the property. Councilman Bernardi (still
the hammer of the CRA) decried a new
conspiracy of the moneyed interests, and
his Westside colleague, Zev Yaroslaysky,
complained about public subsidies to
a fundamentalist body (the Mission)
that refuses to hire non-Christians.
Nonetheless, the council majority (without
any debate about the implied subsidy to
the other sectarian institution, St. Vibianas)
approved the CRA maneuver. 50
As a result of the Reagan Building and
the other CRA initiatives, land prices have
skyrocketed in the Third Street corridor,
but the revival of the rest of the Historic
Core (as the area bounded by First, Los
Angeles, Ninth, and Hill Streets is now
officially called) remains in doubt. The
flight of banks and department stores after
the Watts rebellion left millions of square
feet of upper-story office space in the core
unoccupied. Much of it has sat vacant for
twenty years (the city, of course, has never
imagined conscripting it for housing for
the homeless or other radical uses). The
CRA has planned to gradually bring this
office desert back to life with infusions of
restoration money improved security, the
addition of nightlife (for example, the old
Pacific Stock Exchange transformed into
a disco), and so on. 51 Now, however, the
fate of the area appears inversely hinged
upon the success of a plan to bootleg a
second Downtown, west of the Harbor
Freeway. The emergence of the so-called
Central City West has suddenly put the
CRAs best-made plans in jeopardy.

The Countergame
Certainly, the possibility has always
existed of a countergame. The growing
differential between land values in the
growth core and its immediate periphery
encouraged outlaw developers to gamble
an attracting investment across the Harbor
Freeway. Indeed, already by the mid
1960s, a diverse group of speculators,
large and small, were staking positions
west of the freeway (an area that the
Silverbook had primarily designated for
peripheral parking and services). While
awaiting redevelopment to come their
way, they were permitted, criminally, to
demolish entire neighborhoods in the
Crown Hill and Temple-Beaudry areas.
It was to their advantage to bank land
in desolation rather than take the risk of
tenant organization or future relocation
costs.
But the frustrated speculators had to wait
nearly a generation before they could
compete against the central business
district. With the exception of Unocal (a
major Downtown corporation stranded on
the wrong side of the Harbor Freeway),
they were either foreigners (overseas
Chinese and Israelis) or minorleaguers
outside the mainstream power-structures,
opposed by an awesome combination of
the old-elite Central City Association and
the Community Redevelopment Agency.
Moreover, the notional West Bank was
balkanized by several city council districts
and had no clear patron.
This calculus of forces began to shift in the
mid 1980s. As the Figueroa corridor started
to top-out with new development and turn
its face away from Pershing Square, the
western shore of the freeway suddenly
became inviting. Despite the notorious
fiasco of the Chinese World Trust building
(still half-empty today), structures like the
new Pacific Stock Exchange (relocated
from its magnificent home an Spring
Street) seemingly proved the viability of the
other bank. This led several major-league
players - including Hillman Industries
and Ray Watt - to migrate west with their
awesome financial resources and political
clout. Moreover, most of the West Bank
was politically consolidated into a new
district under Gloria Molina, who was eager
to find a resource base for jobs and housing
in her crushingly poor constituency.
With Molinas forceful backing, the areas
largest stakeholders (organized since
1985 as the Central City West Association
[CCWA]), germinated a plan to literally
create a second Downtown. Despite the
dire warnings of former CRA chief Ed
Helfand that West Bank competition would
undermine the entire logic of Downtown
renewal, Molina accepted the offer of the
CCWA in 1987 to privately fund a specific

52 I have been fascinated to learn that even the CRA


study team assigned to evaluate the draft specific plan
(for in-house purposes only) regarded the housing
element as a crock ... not proposing to do anything
at all. L. A. Times architecture ccitic Sam Hall Kaplan
has repeatedly questioned the adequacy of its housing
provision as well as condemned its segregation of
uses ... and offce tower ghetto in the southeastern
portion of the community, and the isolation elsewhere
of schools, housing and streets.
53 In 1979 a parcel of land was sold to Unocal for $11
a square foot. Towards the end of 1988, an adjacent
parcel was sold to Unocal for $270 a square foot.
And just last spring, Hillman Properties reportedly
purchased the entire contiguous site for $370 a square
foot, Los Angeles BusinessJournal, 29 January 1990.
As land prices rise an the West Bank, it nonetheless
retains the important comparative advantage, vis--vis
the CBD, of being parking rich-that is, of having more
generous onsite parking allowances-an increasingly
important variable for developers and their tenants in
Los Angeles.

33

Amerika-Exkursion
plan for the area. This partnership
deliberately excluded the CRA (seen
as the custodian of CBD interests) and
greatly reduced the role of the city planning
commission. In July 1989, after two years
of study, the urban design firm headed by
ex-CRA commission president Kurt Meyer
submitted a first draft of the plan, detailing
transportation and land use for a maximum
build-out of 25 to 30 million square feet of
commercial space (that is, roughly equal to
all new construction Downtown since 1975,
or to two-and-a-half Century Citys).
The transportation requirements of such
a scale of development are stupefying,
especially in the wake of Downtown s
past policy of starving the West Bank
of transport links in order to make it
undevelopable. In the CCWAs conception,
the Harbor Freeway, rather than Figueroa,
would become the new Main Street of
a bipolar Downtown. Although Caltrans
officials staunchly maintain that the freeway
- double-decked or not - will simply not be
able to absorb the new traffic volume from
the proposed Central City West, the draft
plan provides for four new off-ramps, as
well as an additional Metro Rail station at
Bixel and Wilshire, a $300 million transit
tunnel under Crown Hill, and a funneling
of traffic down Glendale Boulevard that
could have nightmarish consequences for
the already congested Echo Park area.
(Some of the transport planners involved
also argue for the conversion of Alvarado
into a high-speed freeway connector.)
Another breathtaking dimension of the
plan is the proposal for 12,000 units of
new housing gathered in a predominantly
affluent urban village similar to the South
Park plan, but with a marginally greater
inclusion of low- and very-low-income units
(25 percent). Housing advocates, however,
like Father Philip Lance of the United
Neighbors of City West, point out that there
is already a housing emergency in the area
as the arrival of the big guns accelerated
scorched-earth land-banking: 2100 units
have been demolished in the last decade.

54 Councilmember Gloria Molina illustrates the classic


dilemma of an inner-city politician negotiating with
international capital without the clout of an activist
community movement backing her up. Although
a tireless advocate of housing for her low-income
community, she has accepted developer ground
rules (and campaign contributions) as a strategy for
generating at least a modicum of decent replacement
units. Friendly critics have suggested that she would
have saved more housing-or at least wrestled a
better deal-by mobilizing the largely Central American
community of the West Bank in opposition to the
CCWAs redevelopment strategy. For an interesting
profile of Molina, see Ron Curran, Gloria Molina-A
Perennial Outsider Comes to Power and Now Plans to
Run for Mayor, L.A. Weekly, 13-19 October 1989.
55 For Union Station redevelopment in the context of
the restructuring of railroad land holdings, see Mike
Davis, The Los Angeles River: Lost and Found, L.A.
Weekly, 1-7 September 1989.

34

Moreover, the draft specific plan provides


for the replacement of only threequarters of
the low-income units it proposes to remove
for development.52 Other critics, pointing
to the twenty-year timeline of development,
have demanded immediate rehousing of
the existing tenants and restitution for the
housing destroyed in recent years.
While the larval Central City West plan
gestates through a labyrinthine process
of political negotiation, a land rush of
Klondike proportions has broken out on
the West Bank. In some cases, land values
have increased nearly 4000 percent in a
single decade. 53 Speculators, reinforced
by new arrivals from offshore, are now

concentrating on an underdeveloped
mile-long strip of Wilshire Boulevard
between the freeway and the new Metro
Rail station at MacArthur Park. As CRA
planners recognize with some trepidation,
this flow of investment threatens to revive
Wilshire Boulevard - westward as the major
axis of Downtown growth - in competition
to the Figueroa-southward target of the
Silverbook strategy.
Meanwhile, with stakes rapidly increasing,
developer Ray Watt has bumrushed
his way ahead of the CCWA pack to
break ground. Although the city planning
departments chief hearing examiner
opposed the plan for a 1-millionsquare-foot
Watt City Center tower an the west side of
the Harbor Freeway at Eighth Street, Watt
-in one of the most impressive power-plays
in recent city history - ramrodded it through
the city council with the help of lobbyist Art
Snyder (former East L.A. councilmember)
and Molina, chair of the Planning and
Landuse Committee. Molina, in Liaison
with the United Neighbors of TempleBeaudry, cut a consciously Faustian deal:
accepting the Watt Centers additional
traffic load in exchange for eighty units of
immediate low-income housing.54
Downtown Every-Which-Way?
To many Downtowners, the Watt City
Center is a massive symbol that crime
(in this case, skyscraper hijacking) does
pay after all. And to make matters worse,
the West Bank example seems to be
spurring other landowners on the central
Business districts periphery to package
megaprojects for sale to interested
members of the city council. Venting the
Community Redevelopment Agency s
anxiety at the dissipation of a Downtown
focus, the agency s chief, John Tuite,
recently outlined the competing vectors
of development: There is the Convention
Center (South Park), Union Station,
[councilmember] Bob Farrells ideas
for a strategic plan to link USC and the
surrounding area to Downtown, as well
as other CRA areas, City West and City
North.
Union Station, especially, is a variable
of unknown, perhaps huge, dimension in
Downtowns future. When Caltrans tried
to purchase the station under eminent
domain in the early 1980s, its owners (the
three transcontinental railroads:
Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Santa
Fe) brought to court a Charles Luckman
model showing the site built out to the
proportions of Century City. In Luckmans
conception, the elegant old station was
reduced to minor detail in an overscaled
nightmare that included two skyscrapers,
two mansard-roof Vegastype hotels,
a vast shopping concourse, acres of
parking, and a fantastic thirtystory glass

Mrz 2003
Arc de Triomphe smiling over 20,000
office workers and shoppers. Overawed
by the model, the judge ruled in favor of
the station owners, tripling the value of the
site and forcing Caltrans to abandon its
purchase attempt.
In following years, as Santa Fe (whose
largest shareholder is Olympia and
York - the worlds largest commercial
developers) laboriously negotiated to buy
out its partners, the megadevelopment
potential of the station became the focus of
Councilman Richard Alatorres attentions.
Alatorre, chairing the redistricting of the
city council in 1987, allocated to himself the
cusp of Union Station and Olvera Street
with the specific purpose of making station
redevelopment a financial motor to drive
economic development in his Eastside
districts enterprise zone. Although his
idea of linking community development
to a rich redevelopment project mimics
Molinas strategy on the West Bank, he has
collaborated with, rather than excluded,
the CRA, in the evident hope of integrating
Union Station into the CBD game plan.
Accordingly, in the spring of 1988, the
CRA, on behalf of Alatorre and the
station owners, completed an in-depth
study of the sites development potential
(including the vast, nearly empty shell
of the neighboring Terminal Annex Post
Office). In essence, the CRA analysts
endorsed Luckmans 1983 vision of a new
urban center, proposing at least 3 million
square feet of mixed-use office, hotel,
retail, and residential development, as well
as architectural unification with La Placita/
Olvera Street across the street. But the
study continues to raise as many questions
as it answers.55 First, it is not clear whether
the office potential of the station site can
be fully realized in the face of the growing
competition of Central City West. Second,
Olvera Street merchants and East Los
Angeles political foes of Alatorre fear
that station redevelopment will inundate
and destroy the popular character of the
old Plaza area - a crucial public space
for Spanish-speaking Los Angeles. And,
finally, Union Station is the fulcrum of
competing claims between Little Tokyo
(core of an emergent Central City East)
and Chinatown (center of a hypothetical
City North).
It has become the passion of planning
commission chairman William Luddy to
unify the area north of the Civic Center
- including Chinatown, El Pueblo, and
Union Station - as a single planning unit
designed to reinforce CBD redevelopment by adding a dynamic, nighttime
tourist quarter. Moreover, as the planning
departments December 1989 City North
charette emphasized, If Los Angeles is
to compete favorably with Vancouver and
San Francisco as a market for real estate

development by Hong Kong and Singapore


dollars, for investment from Chinese-Asian
money, it must bolster that part of its
city which represents its strong Chinese
heritage .... 56
But this concept of packaging City
North, including Union Station, for sale
to the Chinese diaspora ignores the
competing interest of japanese capital in
establishing a strong link between Little
Tokyo and the station. Little Tokyos Main
Street-like function for Los Angeless
Japanese-American community has been
eclipsed by its new role as a luxury hotel
and shopping precinct for Japanese businessmen. Now, however, its developers
(in the words of the Downtown News) are
making a bold play to capture the tourist
windfall expected from the Convention
Center expansion. Over a million square
feet of hotel, retail, and residential construction is under way near First and
Alameda (extending Litlle Tokyo to the
edge of the Los Angeles River), and
developers are pushing for a mixed-use,
high-rise rezoning of the industrial corridor
east of Alameda. Union Station, revived
by Metro Rail as Downtowns transit
hub, is hungrily envisioned as an integral
part of Little Tokyos expanded sphere of
influence.
As different forces contend for the future
of Union Station, another major eruption
of development may be ready to occur an
the CBDs southern flank. Since Silverbook
days, most observers have believed that
the CRAs ultimate goal is to extend the
corridor of high-rise redevelopment along
Figueroa to the Jefferson or Exposition
Street edges of the University of Southern
California campus. With utter conviction
in its inevitability, one landowner (an auto
dealer) has spent twenty years patiently
assembling most of the long, low-rise
stretch between Jefferson and Adams
for conversion into office and hotel-block
developments. USC, on the other hand,
has been preoccupied since the Watts
rebellion with fortifying its borders (an
impressive Maginot Line of shopping
centers and parking lots) and promoting
the gentrification of its Hoover Street
fringe. Few doubt, however, that the
university is nurturing a far more ambitious
vision, linking its housing strategy to the
commercial development of Figueroa
under joint auspices with the CRA. The
1988 appointment of Gerald Trimble,
high-powered
former
redevelopment
director for Pasadena and San Diego, as
USCs development director has fueled
endless speculation about the universitys
game plan as well as stimulated local
councilmember Robert Farrell to agitate
for a link - la Molinas West Bank and
Alatorres Union Station cash cows
- between commercial and community

56 Los Angeles Design Action Planning Team, A Plan


for City North, 5 December 1989.
57 On Bradleygate, see Mike Davis, Heavyweight
Contenders, Interview, August 1989.
58 The vote took place along a pork barrel divide.

Historically council attitudes toward the CRA have


been shaped less by ideology than by whether or
not the councilmember has a significant CRA project
in his or her district. Even Ruth Galanter, the recent
environmentalist addition to the council from Venice
Beach, has had a change of heart about the agency
after working with it to renovate the aged Crenshaw
Shopping Center.
59 The mayormeanwhile has tried to mollify the

county Board of Supervisors-Bernardis major ally-by


deregulating development rights for county properties
Downtown and increasing their share of the tax
flow from Hollywood redevelopment. This leaves
only Bernardi and Valley homeowners groups as
intransigent opponents of lifting the cap.

35

Amerika-Exkursion
development in the south Downtown-USC
nexus.
Perestroika or End Game?
In summary, the West Bank countergame,
together with the emerging moves on the
north, east, and south faces of Downtown,
is beginning to disorganize the Community
Redevelopment Agencys CBD game plan.
The casino is in chaos, the developers
are seen shooting craps with politicians
in every alley. Existential questions are
raised: Can Downtown grow in every
compass direction at once? Who will
supply the demand for one, two, three, or
many Downtowns?
For the CRA, the problem is even more
complicated, since it must confront these
centrifugal tendencies while simultaneously
surmounting the 1977 Bernardi cap and
renewing its mandate to orchestrate
Downtowns expansion. Moreover, Mayor
Bradleys position as the agencys patron
has been made more delicate by a highly
publicized ethics scandal as well as by
charges of benign neglect from his own
Black political base. 57 An atmosphere
of quiet crisis has served to concentrate minds in the CRAs Spring Street
headquarters.

60 See Morris Newman, Old Buildings Square Off


Against New in Los Angeles Office Battle, Los Angeles
BusinessJournal, 23 October 1989: also ibid., 29
January 1990.
61 See interview in Los Angeles Business Journal,
16 October 1989. The Downtown News (22 January
1990) reported the growing dissatisfaction of japanese
owners with the advice they had been receiving from
asset managers and brokers about the quality of the
Downtown market.
62 See Chip Jacobs, Braude, Saying Downtown

Growth Out of Control, Los Angeles BusinessJournal,


9 October 1989.
63 Ibid.
64 Is it conceivable that some Downtown visionaries
are actually counting an gridlock to make their
Manhattanized urban villages work? As CRA chairman
jim Wood explained in an interview last year, We
planned for there to be lots of traffic Downtown;
we wanted traflic because that would make Metro
Rail work. For a preface to a Green counterplan
for Downtown, see Mike Davis, Deconstructing
Downtown, L.A. Weekly, 1-7 December 1989, as well
as Davis, The Los Angeles River: Lost and Found,
previously cited.

36

The solution hammered out from


above necessarily proposed both a political realignment and a new design for
Downtown. In 1989, the CRA survived a
dose call when its opponents on the city
council almost achieved a majority for a
takeover of the agency. 58 In the aftermath,
Mayor Bradley urged a sweeping
concordant between the CRA and its most
trenchant community critics. In return for
supporting a huge increase of the CBDs
tax-increment capacity to $5 billion, the
mayor offered to split the addition evenly
between CBD redevelopment and citywide
housing needs. He also dramatically
co-opted two of the CRAs leading housing
critics into his administration (one as
his housing advisor, the other as CRA
commissioner). Simultaneously, city hall
instituted new housing linkage fees, taxing
high-rise development to support affordable
home
construction.
Unsurprisingly
the Former united front of CRA
foes-community groups, public-interest
lawyers, progressive planners, and so forth
has disintegrated. 59
The mayor has appointed a Downtown
Strategic Plan Advisory Committee to
wrestle with the challenge of Central
City West in the framework of a new,
twenty-year master plan for Downtown.
Chaired by two veterans of the Silverbook
taskforce, CRA commissioners Frank
Kuwahara and Edwin Steidle, the
committee is dominated by a two-thirds
majority of developers and corporate

lawyers, including such familiar suspects


as Ira Yellin, Chris Stewart (former secretary of the CCA), and the irrepressible Art
Snyder. Although the CRAs authority ends
at the Harbor Freeway, the committee has
been specifically encouraged to visualize
the CBDs future in the broadest context
- that is, to work out some reconciliation
of developer interests on both sides of the
freeway (taking into account USC, Litde
Tokyo, Central City North, and possibly
Hollywood as well). In the meantime,
the mayor and the CRA are readying a
proposal to drastically expand the CRAs
domain Downtown: taking in City North,
the USC area, part of the West Bank,
and perhaps the area in transition east of
Alameda. If adopted, the expanded project
areas would allow the agency to deal with
two problems at once: reconciliation of
growth poles and the linkage of community
and commercial redevelopment.
The CRA has encouraged the view that
these various initiatives are the beginning
of an authentic Downtown perestroika that
will eventually transform redevelopment
to please everybody, from japanese
developers to the homeless on Skid Row.
Despite the encouragement, however,
a hard core of doubt remains. Indeed, in
the view of many insiders, the end game
has already begun, as Downtown plays
against the clock - perhaps time bomb
- of two insurmountable contradictions:
overbuilding and the coming traffic
apocalypse.
The smart money an both sides of the
Harbor Freeway has ceased to believe
in the Downtown-Pacific Rim perpetual
motion machine, and, like Ray Watt, is
racing to bring their projects in and stuff
them with high-dass tenants before the
market crashes. Even before the official
arrival of recession in summer 1990, the
torrent of incoming Manhattan law firms
and japanese banks had slowed to a trickle.
In Japan itself, where convulsed stock
markets registered the overaccumulation
of fictional capital, high interest rates were
beckoning capital to stay home. The 1980s
fantasy of an infinite supply of offshore
capital to sustain Southern Californias
real estate boom seems increasingly like a
psychedelic aberration.
If the trophy-dass Downtown office market
still purred sweetly at the end of 1990,
it was only because existing Downtown
tenants (like First Interstate and Unocal)
have been vigorously trading up. As
they have bailed out of their old offices
(usually circa 1960s-1970s structures like
the First Interstate Tower), vacancies have
soared in the corporate schlock, or dass
two market. New development, in other
words, is devaluing old. This is slowing job
creation, and potentially undermining the

Mrz 2003
CRKs putative tax base as well.60
But, as happens in all business cydes,
production drastically overshoots demand
in the final, fervid phase of the boom. In
a situation where even redevelopments
eminence grise, CRA commission president
Jim Wood, is admitting that Downtown
is overdeveloped and the japanese are
acting
nervous,61
science-fiction-like
quantities of office space are scheduled for
delivery over the next decade. In the flush
conditions of the 1980s, the Downtown
market absorbed about 1.4 million square
feet of new space per year. With more than
12 million square feet already approved
and in the construction pipeline and with
the financial-services expansion ending,
supply should easily meet demand
through to the millennium. Yet a further
20-30 million square feet of projects are
an drawing boards, chasing investors
and mortgage bankers around the city.
(Altogether, councilinember Marvin Braude
estimates that sixty-four new projects
creating 37 million square feet of office
space.)62 With Southern California diving
into deeper recession, who will occupy this
embarrassment of space? (And why should
tax dollars subsidize its construction?)
Even in Los Angeles, speculators cannot
go an endlessly building space for other
speculators.
But a Downtown depression may be the
lesser of potential evils. Worse still is
the specter of hyper-gridlock paralyzing
Downtown and a large part of Los
Angeles County. The traffic nightmare
of the 199os-regardless of an economic
slowdown-will be the simple addition of
current planning exemptions and special
cases. For example, two recently approved
megaprojects-the Watt City Center and,
directly across the Harbor Freeway, the
Metropolis-will each add fifteen thousand
trips per day to overloaded Downtown
streets. Total new development will
generate an additional 420,000 trips per
day, making the existing Harbor Freeway
[according to councilmember Braude] a
parking lot and paralyzing the movement
of traffic in the Downtown area. 63 Lest
Metro Rail and Downtown village living
be immediately wheeled in as a deus ex
machina, it is sobering to observe that a
recent survey discovered that only a tiny
fraction of Downtown office commuters
(just 5.4 percent) have both the means
and the desire to live in Bunker Hill or
South Park. Certainly the nightmare of
perpetual gridlock will persuade a larger
percentage of commutexs to reluctantly
abandon Pasadena or Studio City,64 but
these same horrors may also persuade
Mitsui and CitiCorp to look afresh at
Wilshire Boulevard, Long Beach, or
Orange Countys Golden Triangle. They
may even convince shaken Los Angeles

voters to reexamine the premises of the


citys pharaonic and socially irresponsible
redevelopment strategy.
1990
Postscript: Play Resumed
The 1990-94 recession, which send CBD
vacancies soaring into the double digits,
accompanied by the 1992 riot that engulfed
most of the MacArthur Park district, forced
a humiliating retreat of speculative capital
from the West Bank. Simulaneously,
the meltdown of the superyen led to the
panic-striken evacuation of Japanese
investment
from
downtown
trophy
properties, while a wave of mergers and
buyouts producted a rapid demotion of Los
Angeless rank as an international financial
center.
Amid so much carnage, the old rules of the
game dramatically asserted themselves.
Although a new Downtown Strategic Plan
alloted some new urbanist trinkets to
the natives an the periphery, the Figueroa
corridor was definitively reestablished as
the axis of Downtown growth. Corporate
nerves, badly rattled by recession and
riot, were soothed by the 1994 election
of Richard Riordan as mayor. He quickly
began to rebuild the CBD growth coalition,
incorporating for the first time the Catholic
Church (anxious to build a huge new
cathedral in the civic center) and the Latino
leaderships of the Downtown service and
hotel unions (who were rewarded with
Riordans tolerance of their organizing
campaigns). Moreover, a dubious messiah
appeared in the person of Denver
billionaire Philip Anschutz, the eleventh or
twelfth richest man in the United States,
depending on the flucuating fortunes of his
myriad oil, railroad, telecommunications,
and sports subsidiaries (including the
Lakers).
Although even Anschutz isnt rich or stupid
enough to attempt to fill the void left by the
flight of the japanese and the downsizing
of LA-based banks, he is big enough to
have his shoes shined by most of the city
council. In partnership with media mogul
Rupert Murdoch (who owns the Dodgers)
and real estate wheelerdealer Ed Roski
(who grew his fortune in the corrupt topsoil
of the City of Industry), he extracted $12
million from the CRA in 1997/98 to help
assemble the site for the trios new Staples
Center sports complex that brought the
Lakers and Clippers downtown (and across
the street from red-ink-gushing Convention
Center).
Despite fervent support from the Riordan
administration, the $350 million Staples
scheme suffered some minor wing
damage as it flew into a cloud of suburban
flak. An original proposal, for example,
for a long-term city subsidy of $70 million
37

Amerika-Exkursion

was defeated by public outrage whose


epicenter was the Downtown-hating San
Fernando Valley. In 1999, moreover,
revelations about a secret profit-sharing
arrangement between Staples Center and
the Los Angeles Times Magazine led to a
shareholder revolt orchestrated by retired
published Otis Chandler that resulted in
sale of Times-Mirror - Downtowns oldest
and most influential stakeholder - to the
Chicago Tribune Company The Downtown
Old Guard (except for USC at the CBDs
south pole) now is extinct, but the new
elites continue to play the redevelopment
game by the old Silverbook rules.
Indeed, the Anschutz-Roski camp (which
also includes billionaire Ron Burkle and
Casey Wassweman, who owns the LA
Avengers) seems to have decided to go
for the South Park/Convention Center hat
trick. With Downtown booster James Hahn
in Riordans old office, they muscled a new
38

$2.4 billion in tax-increment redevelopment


authority through a pliant city council in
the Winter of 2002. Nothing could have
been more ingeniously designed to incite
neighborhood anger or to bolster the cause
of secession in the San Fernando Valley.
But city hall, as usual, could see little further
than the end of its nose. In the meantime,
the new CRA masterplan is truly Viagra
for a wilting Downtown boom, and much
of the stimulus is targeted at hotel and
high-income residential development to
support the Staples complex and, possibly,
a new stadium for an Anschutz-owned
NFL franchise. County Supervisor Zev
Yaroslavsky who counts as one of his
less palatable responsibilities the closing
of bankrupt county healthcare facilities,
characterized the entire boondogle as
taking money out of the mouths of poor
people. So what else is new?
2002

Mrz 2003

Von Architektur zu Environment


Richard Neutra und das Einfamilienhaus der Nachkriegszeit

Welchen Einfluss bte die amerikanische Kultur der Nachkriegszeit auf Entwicklung
und Popularisierung des Glashauses aus? Vor allem Neutras Werk zeigt, dass die
biologisch-kologischen Verhltnisse des Atomzeitalters das Interesse der modernen
Architektur am Raum in eine ngstliche Sorge um die Umwelt verwandelten.

von Sylvia Lavin

Die
amerikanische
Architektur
der
fnfziger und frhen sechziger Jahre ist
in den letzten Jahren zum Gegenstand
intensiver Forschung geworden, und
ganz besonderes Interesse fand dabei die
husliche Landschaft dieser Zeit. In diesem
nostalgischen Rckblick spiegelt sich ein
komplexes Geflecht von Wnschen, doch
am ehesten lsst er sich als Ausdruck einer
Sehnsucht nach Huslichkeit begreifen.
Die
amerikanische
Nachkriegszeit
erhob das Bild der Kernfamilie vollends
zur Norm, idealisierte die Mutterschaft
und verbannte durch den Drang in die
Suburbs die Probleme der Arbeit in einen
immer ferneren Stadtkern. Vor allem fr
die Jngeren, die selbst nicht mehr die
fnfziger Jahre erlebt haben, steht diese
Zeit fr ein perfektes Familien leben, wie
es tatschlich allenfalls die Cleavers in der
Fernsehserie Leave it to Beaver fhrten.
Trotz immer zahlreicherer Bilder huslichen
Glcks war die Epoche des Kalten Kriegs
zugleich auch eine Zeit unterdrckter
ngste, in der die husliche Sphre sich
mit den wuchernden Phobien der Zeit
fllte. Whrend die rote Gefahr den
Kommunismus zu einem Virus stilisierte,
der still und heimlich den politischen
Krper infizierte, drang die erschreckend
allgegenwrtige, aber stets unsichtbare
atomare Strahlung in den huslichen
Krper ein. Das Leben im atomaren
Zeitalter wurde nicht als Katastrophe
empfunden, sondern als new frontier, an
der das robuste amerikanische Individuum
in einer wohlgefllten Speisekammer
berleben wrde: Aus dem Blockhaus in

aus: Diadalos, Juni 1998


Konstruktionen von Atmosphren

einer Wildnis, die alles bot, was man zum


Leben brauchte, war ein strahlensicherer
Atomschutzbunker geworden.
Diese paradoxe Verknpfung zwischen
huslicher Sicherheit und Angst lsst
sich an einem wichtigen Merkmal des
Nachkriegshauses studieren, an der
ffnung seiner Haut gegenber der
Auenwelt. Teils aufgrund von Fortschritten
in der Kontrolle von Umwelteinflssen
und in den mechanischen Systemen
war der Glaskasten, von dem man vor
dem Krieg nur getrumt hatte, nun in
Formen realisierbar, die von stilistisch
hochwertiger Architektur bis hin zum
Zuckerbckerhuschen mit bergroen
Fenstern reichten.
Vor allem aber demonstriert die wachsende
Zahl glserner Huser die Unfhigkeit von
Bauwerken wie dem Dymaxion-Haus, das
sowohl real als auch metaphorisch Schutz
vor konventionellen Bomben geboten
hatte, mit den diffusen Bedrohungen
des Kalten Krieges fertig zuwerden. Da
man nicht lnger auf reale Barrieren zur
Kontrolle der Temperatur wie auch der
Sicherheit angewiesen war und sich auch
nicht mehr mit festen Wnden zufrieden
geben mochte, die nicht einmal mehr
einen symbolischen Schutz vor Gefahren
boten, die durch alle bekannten Materialien
hindurchdringen konnten, begann die
amerikanische Kultur Sicherheit nach
der Aufrechterhaltung der Versorgung
durch den Supermarkt zu bemessen. Das
Glashaus markiert den Prozess, in dem
die traditionelle Funktion der Architektur,
nmlich die Unterscheidung von innen

Sylvia Lavin ist Professorin am Institut fr Architektur


und Stadtplanung an der University of California. Sie
publiziert zu moderner Architektur und arbeitet derzeit
an einem Buch ber die Nachkriegsarbeiten Neutras.

Buff, Straub und Hensman,


Case Study House#20
Altadena, 1958.

39

Amerika-Exkursion

Trotz Glasfassade ist die Familie gegen Strahlung,


aber auch gegen althergebrachte Gefahren (Ruber)
geschtzt. Sat.Evening Post, 4.26.1958.

Links: Abgeschmirte Flitterwochen.


Life Magazine, 10.8.1959.
Rechts: Richard Neutra, Haus Moore,
Ojai, 1952.Foto: Julius Schulman.

40

und auen oder die Markierung einer Der erste Entwurf fr das Moore-Haus
Grenze, die den Krper vor der Atmosphre besteht aus einem rechteckigen Block, der
schtzt, obsolet wurde.1
als Grundriss sogleich wieder verworfen
wurde. Als Diagramm jedoch spielten
Die
Auseinandersetzung
mit
dem mehrere Momente auch weiterhin eine
komplizierten Problem der schtzenden bedeutende Rolle. So wurden smtliche
Hlle sorgte dafr, dass aus dem Ecken des Blocks in dramatischer Weise
Bestreben, nicht die Grenzen der Gebude, bearbeitet. Das Bestreben, die Ecken zu
sondern die eines neugeschaffenen entmaterialisieren, ist fr weite Teile der
Umweltbegriffs zu ziehen, zu verschieben modernen Architektur durch aus typisch,
oder zu beseitigen, ein vorrangiges Projekt doch der Einsatz der Ecke als primres
der Nachkriegsarchitektur wurde. Richard Element zur Erzeugung architektonischer
war
selbst
fr
Neutra
Neutra beteiligte sich an diesem Projekt, als Effekte
er 1949 bis 195 z das Moore-Haus entwarf auergewhnlich, bis er die elaborierte,
vielfltig variierte Gestaltung der Ecke zum
und es als Lebensraum bezeichnete.2
hchstentwickelten und einflussreichsten
Die Auffassung, wonach Architektur ein Thema seiner Nachkriegsarbeit machte.
kosystem darstellt, das es mit den
wechselseitigen
Einflssen
zwischen Zwei Hauptelemente unterscheiden die
Lebewesen und Umwelt zu tun hat, zweite Phase der Entwicklung seines
bezeichnete Neutra als Biorealismus, und Entwurfs von der ersten: Die strenge,
die Aufgabe des Architekten sah er in der blockhnliche Geometrie des Hauses
Choreographie eines biochemischen und ist einer intern komplexeren, auf zwei
Stockwerke verteilten Struktur gewichen.
biophysikalischen Balletts.3
Auerdem ist die Behandlung der
Weniger
bekannt
als
Neutras umgrenzenden Flchen komplexer und
Vorkriegsarbeit, die sich am strengsten an diffuser geworden. Der Pavillon mit dem
die rationalistischen, der Maschinenwelt Haupteingang und das Stockwerk darber
verhafteten Dogmen des Internationalen besitzen an den Ecken Spinnenbeine,
Stils hielt, gehrt das Moore-Haus zu einer wie Neutra dies nannte: Elemente der
Serie von Nachkriegsbauten, in denen er Dachkonstruktion, die sowohl ber den
die Transformation der Wohnarchitektur Baukrper als auch ber die Dachkante
vom
statischen
Schutzbau
zum hinaus in die umgebende Landschaft
dynamischen Lebensraum erkundete, ragen. Die Verdopplung dieser Elemente
mit der zugehrigen Verschiebung im sorgt dafr, dass die Ecken sowohl
Verstndnis des menschlichen Subjekts betont als auch eliminiert werden, und
osmotische
von einem maschinenartigen Gebilde zum schafftgewissermaen
Verhltnisse:
biologischen Organismus.
Das Design des Moore-Hauses wiederholt
in einem einzigen Projekt Neutras gesamte
Entwicklung, von der kompakten Geometrie
zu einer entschiedenen Horizontalitt; von
Fenstern und Tren, die Integritt des
Blocks betonen, hin zu weiten ffnungen,
die eine Umwelt mit flieenden Grenzen
beleben; von der Maschine in einem Garten
hin zum Lebenserhaltungssystem.

Mrz 2003

Das Innere scheint in die umgebende


Landschaft auszuflieen, whrend die
Wlbung des Hangs sich ins Innere hinein
fortsetzt. Der ursprngliche Block ist nun
nahezu unsichtbar innerhalb eines langen
balkenfrmigen Gebildes, das sich entlang
der Nordsdachse an den Boden duckt.
Ein nach Westen gerichteter Vorbau am
sdlichen Ende und eine nach Osten
gerichtete Verdickung des Balkens am
nrdlichen Ende lassen an ein Windrad
denken und erinnern an die Huser
Frank Lloyd Wrights, fr den Neutra einst
gearbeitet hatte. Ein schotenfrmiger
Hundeauslauf, ein um 45 gedrehter Vorbau
an der Garage und ein diagonaler Einschnitt
im Frhstcksbereich bildeten drei nicht
orthogonale Elemente, die Neutra schon
frh in dieser letzten Phase eliminierte. In
seinen Grundzgen blieb der Grundriss nun
stabil, mit den Wohnrumen im Norden,
den Versorgungsrumen im Westen
und den Schlafzimmern im Sdosten.
Das
Moore-Haus
zeigt
nichts
Ungewhnliches in der Verteilung der
huslichen Funktionen, nichts Innovatives
in seiner Konstruktionsmethode und
nichts Radikales in den Grundelementen
seines
Formenrepertoires.
Dennoch
fhrte
die
Akkumulation
geringfgiger Abweichungen von der
modernen Tradition
zu
betrchtlich
vernderten Effekten. So entwickelte
Neutra die im ersten Entwurf zu
erkennenden
Einbauschrnke
und
Kammern weiter. Diese Elemente knpfen
an die Bemhungen der Modernisten
um husliche Hygiene an. Sie befreien
das Innere nicht nur von Staub, sondern
auch von dunklen, unzugnglichen,
geheimnisvollen und zugleich unntzen
Rumen hinter freistehenden Mbeln.4
In ihrer Anordnung zeigt sich jedoch
auch Neutras Interesse am wachsenden
Einfluss der Konsumkultur, die in
seinen Augen auch die Architektur des
Besitzens von einer viktorianischen

Zurschaustellung der Besitztmer hin


zur Assimilation prothetischer Elemente
verschob. Da die Ware kein Objekt
war, das man kontrollieren musste wie
ein Krperteil, wurde die Anordnung
der
Staurume
durch
Phnomene
wie die Reichweite des menschlichen
Arms oder die Geruchsempfindlichkeit
des
Bewohners
bestimmt.5
Betten etwa gestaltete er so, dass starke
Raucher Zigaretten und Aschenbecher
in Reichweite finden konnten; dadurch
lie sich verhindern, dass sich als erste
Empfindung am Morgen Nervositt
einstellte. Die Kchenschrnke waren
geschlossen, damit sie den, wie Neutra
sagte, architektonischen Geschmackstest
bestanden; er war der Ansicht, dass eine
gleichmige Verteilung von Reizen dem
rast- und Gesichtsinn die Mglichkeit
bot, sich ohne abrupte Vernderungen
der Innervation zu bewegen, so
dass sie die Funktion der Drsen und
die Bildung der Verdauungssekrete
nicht
negativ
beeinflusste
oder
den
Stoffwechsel
beeintrchtigte.6
Das Ergebnis dieser Analyse war eine
Innenarchitektur,
die
Verbindungen
zwischen
Rumen
und
Funktionen
etwa
nach
Art
einer
Synapse
herstellte, wobei dieser physiologische
Vergleich ein dynamisch bedeutsames
Verbindungselement
bezeichnen
soll.
Verbindungen
und
Verknpfungen,
absorbierende und der Entladung dienende
Oberflchen, nicht Grenzen oder Hllen sind
die wichtigsten Phnomene in der gesamten
Physiologie
organischen
Lebens.7
Wenn wir Neutras Sptwerk im Kontext
organischen Lebens betrachten, zeigt sich,
dass er das Haus in einen Lebensraum
verwandelt hatte, der sich in einer
dynamischen Wechselwirkung mit einem
als Ansammlung von Sinnesrezeptoren
verstandenen
menschlichen
Subjekt
befindet. Die Leistung der Architektur
bemisst sich dann nicht mehr nach

Richard Neutra, Haus Moore, 1958, Grundri und


Ansicht.

Richard Neutra, Haus Moore, 1958. Skizzen.

41

Amerika-Exkursion

Die Entmaterialisierung der Gebudeecken.


Richard Neutra, Haus Moore, 1958.
Foto: Julius Schulman

der
sthetischen
Wertschtzung,
sondern nach der Stimulation des
Nervensystems.8 Von groer Bedeutung
waren fr Neutra im Zusammenhang
des,
wie
er
sagte,
physiologisch
verstandenen, durch nichtgeometrische
Vektoreigenschaften
charakterisierten
Raumes
der
Feuchtigkeitsgehalt
der
im
architektonischen
Raum
eingeschlossenen Luft und die Bewegung
dieser Luft.9 Er schrieb ber die
Hautrezeptoren und andere Elemente
der menschlichen Stereognosis, die solche
Umweltbedingungen registrieren, und in
seiner Arbeit am Moore-Haus lie er sich
in vielerlei Hinsicht von berlegungen zur
Bewegung und zum Feuchtigkeitsgehalt
der Luft wie auch zur Wirkung harter
oder
weicher
Materialien
leiten.10
Neutras
besondere
Aufmerksamkeit
fr frische Luft erinnert an seine
Vorliebe fr Emile Zola, in dem er einen
Vorfahren seines eigenen Interesses am
Biorealismus erblickte; er war berzeugt,
Zola sei gestorben, weil er in einem
hermetisch verschlossenen Schlafzimmer
geschlafen habe. Sein Naturalismus war
eine Sache; seine Wohnung eine andere.
Er lebte und starb unter den Fittichen der
energischen Innenausstatter seiner Zeit.11
berraschend der Kontrast zwischen
seiner Angst, in einem fensterlosen Raum
zu sterben, und seiner Beschreibung eines
Fensters in einem seiner Huser: Eine
groe Schiebetr ffnet sich freundlich
zum Garten hin... (Sie vermag), durchs
Jahr hindurch` mit der Regelmigkeit
einer treusorgenden Mutter Befriedigung
zu schenken, oder auch augenblicklich,
im Bruchteil einer Sekunde, mit dem
erregenden Reiz einer Liebhaberin.12
Tatschlich liegt der am strksten
stimulierende und libidinseste Aspekt
des Moore-Hauses und berhaupt das
einflussreichste Moment der von Neutra
42

Richard Neutra, Haus Moore, 1958


Ansicht

nach dem Krieg entworfenen Huser


- in der konzentrierten Auflsung der
Grenzen und Fassaden. Obwohl Neutras
Entwrfe in einer langen Tradition von
Glashusern stehen, zeichnen sie sich
durch das Bemhen aus, das Haus zu
einem architektonischen kosystem zu
machen. So lassen im dritten und letzten
Entwurf des Moore-Hauses unmittelbar
aneinanderstoende Glaswnde eine
der Ecken des Baukrpers kaum noch
hervortreten; sie scheint statt dessen
nach auen verlagert, wo der I-Trger
eines Spinnenbeins in der Tiefe eines
Seerosenteiches verschwindet, der den
Fuboden des Hauses gleichsam erodieren
lsst.
Eine
abgeschirmte,
diagonal
verlaufende Terrasse, Innenwnde aus
Glas und andere Details sorgen dafr, dass
dieser Teil des Hauses als architektonischer
Raum uerst unbestimmt bleibt. Der
aufflligste Aspekt in Neutras Einsatz
der Transparenz ist jedoch die Tatsache,
dass er Glasflchen stets entweder neben
undurchsichtige Flchen stellt oder mit
den vertikalen Streifen der Spinnenbeine
konfrontiert.
Dieses
komplexe
Gleichgewicht zwischen Offenheit und
Abschlieung stimuliert nach Neutra die
psychophysiologischen berlebensreflexe:
den Wunsch nach einem ungehinderten
Ausblick auf Fluchtwege und Angriffslinien
wie auch das Bedrfnis nach dem Schutz
vor Feinden, die im Rcken angreifen.13
Die Ecke, an der die Grundelemente des
Designs die grte Wirkung erzielen - und
Offenheit, Raumfluss und Orientierung das
schaffen, was Neutra als neuronales Drama
empfand - die Ecke wird der Ort, an dem
der Schutzbau der Vorkriegszeit der Sorge
der Nachkriegszeit um das berleben
des Menschen wie der Umwelt weicht
Das Verstndnis des Hauses als ein
interaktives System, das Umwelteinflsse

mit organischen Prozessen verknpft,


bildete eine deutliche Abweichung von
den Traditionen der frhen Moderne. Nach
Nagasaki schien eine bedrohliche Natur
angesichts der Angst vor der unsichtbaren
Strahlung in Luft, Wasser und Boden den
huslichen Bereich zu infiltrieren. Zugleich
wurden die natrlichen Ressourcen
ihrerseits domestiziert, so dass man sie
eher mit Freizeit und Konsum als mit der
Produktion assoziierte. Wie Autokinos und
Autokirchen das Husliche in ein mobiles
Terrain zerstreuten, so domestizierte die
kologische Bewegung den Planeten
insgesamt und verwandelte die Welt
in ein Objekt, das eines grndlichen
Hausputzes bedurfte.14 Der Raum der
modernen Architektur lste sich auf diese
Weise in eine verdnnte Umwelt auf, die
weder Grenzen zwischen ,Innen und
,Auen noch die Grenzen des huslichen
Bereichs kannte, sondern eine neue Form
von kosystem hervorbrachte: Der von
einer perfekt funktionierenden Maschine
besetzte Raum des modernen Hauses war
zur Umwelt und zum Lebensraum eines
libidins strukturierten, von der Auslschung
bedrohten
Lebewesens
geworden.

Mrz 2003

Richard Neutra, Haus Moore, 1958.


Foto: Julius Schulman.

1: For related arguments,


see Reyner Banham, The Architecture of the
Well-Tempered Environment, London 1969;
Lynn Spigel, Make Room for TV: Television
and the Family Ideal in PostwarAmerica,
Chicago 1997; David Nye, Electrifying
America: Social Meanings of a New
Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1990.
2: This essay forms part of a larger study
of Neutras post-war domestic architecture
examined in relation to the historical impact
of psychoanalytic, psycho-physiological and
environmental practices an American
culture to be published by the MIT Press.
See my The Avant-Garde Is Not at Home:
Richard Neutra and the American
Psychologizing of Modernity, in: Autonomy
and Ideology, (R.E. Somol ed.), New York
1997, p. 180-198.
3: Richard and Dion Neutra, Bauen und die
Sinneswelt, Berlin and Hamburg, 1980.
English translation: California State
Polytechnic University, Pomona, School of
Environmental Design Journal, 1983-84, 7.
4: Richard Neutra, Survival Through
Design, New York, 1954, 26. This little
studied text is the fullest presentation of
Neutras theory of Biological Realism.

5: Discussions of Neutras concern for the


neurological response of human subjects to
stimuli in the environment permeates
Survival Through Design. On interior design
and ownership, see pages 260-263.
6: Survival Through Design, 92-93.
7: Survival Through Design, 364, Neutras
emphasis.
8: Survival Through Design, 214.
9: Survival Through Design, 157.
10: Instead of simple walls or complex
mechanical systems, Neutra used an
elaborate choreography of air-vents,
elevated roof spines that provide clerestory
windows, the lily ponds water for lowering
external temperature and adding humidity.
11: Survival Through Design, 36-40.
12: Survival Through Design, 229.
13: Survival Through Design, 218-223:
14: In 1962 Neutra completed a drive-in
Community church in Garden Grove, Ca. On
the history of the environmental movement,
see Samuel P. Hays, Beauty, Health and
Permanence: Environmenial Politics in the
United States, 1955-1985, Cambridge, 1987;
Lester Milbrath, Environmentalists: Vanguard
of a New Society, Al bany, 1984.

43

Amerika-Exkursion

44

Mrz 2003

Los Angeles:City of the Immediate future


Streets.Streets.Streets.Streets. There is such a confusion, life there is so intense, so
diverse, so outlandish, it resembles nothing known.
Blaise Cendrars, 1936 1
The republication of Reyner Banhams
enduringly popular LosAngeles: The
Architecture of Four Ecologies not only
ensures the continuation of a thirtyyear print run, but affords a welcome
opportunity to reflect an its place both
in the literature an Los Angeles and in
the development of new approaches to
architectural history.2 For while the book
was immediately embraced as a new
and fresh look at a city that had for many
decades defied the attempts of visitors
and residents to characterize it in any
unified sense, it was also a book written
by a British architectural historian with
a declared mission to revise the way in
which the history of buildings and cities
had traditionally been written.
To publish a book in praise (!) of Los
Angeles (the exclamation mark was
added by the reviewer in the New York
Times) in 1971 was, in the first instance, to
go against a long-term trend of LA critique,
given canonical form with Nathanael
Wests 1939 indictment of Hollywood in
The Day of the Locust, and revived with
the strong reaction to the deleterious
effects of modern urban planning that
emerged in the 1960s. 3 In 1971, not more
than six years after the Watts uprising, and
at the height of Jane Jacobs campaign for
the preservation of urban communities
such as the West Village in Manhattan,
the city of Los Angeles was, in the eyes of
most urban and architectural intellectuals,
a decidedly negative example. As the
architectural historian Thomas Hines
put it: The thrust of this book will not
likely appeal to Jane Jacobs or to Lewis
Mumford or to orthodox planning theorists
or to half the intellectuals of Southern
California.4 For many, the city of Los
Angeles, as Francis Carney wrote in his

review of Banhams book for the New


York Review of Books, was Mumfords
`anti-city; Reaganland, the Ur-city of the
plastic culture, of Kustom-Kars and movie
stars, nutburgers and Mayor Yorty and the
Monkees, the Dream Factory, fantasy land,
Watts and the barrio, glass and stuccobuilt,
neon-lit, chrome-plated, formica-topped if
not the Schlockbaus of the Western world,
that was to say, everybodys favorite
horrible example. 5
Banham himself had anticipated such
criticism, frankly admitting that, insofar
as Los Angeles performs the functions
of a great city . . . all the most admired
theorists of the present century, from
the Futurists and Le Corbusier to Jane
Jacobs and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy have been
wrong. 6 And, given the long tradition of
LA boosters and LA haters, he had in a
balanced afterword conceded that there
are many who do not wish to read the
book, and would like to prevent others from
doing so, acknowledging that Los Angeles,
while rising to the level of a great city, was
not absolutely perfect. [I A 236] Early
reviews of the book were at least polite,
if slightly incredulous; but it was the art
critic Peter Plagens in a vituperative review
in ArtForunz, who established the book
firmly in the tradition of LA boosterism,
to the extent that, by 1990, Mike Davis,
another opponent of the booster tradition,
had ruefully to admit that Banham had
produced a work that had become the
textbook on Los Angeles. 7 Indeed, its
very subtitle, despite the TLS reviewers
pain over the misuse of a word originally
meaning the study of eco-systems, had
become an invitation to invent further, and
less engaging, counter-ecologies: the
ecology of evil of Peter Plagens, and Mike
Daviss own ecology of fear.8
But in considering the book entirely

Anthony Vidler
aus: Introduction to Reyner Banhams Los
Angeles Dead Cities and other Tales, 2002

45

Amerika-Exkursion
within the narrow genre of LA literature,
reviewers and subsequent readers have
largely missed what, for Banham and
much of his architectural public in Britain,
was one of its primary aims. As a work
commissioned within a series entitled
The Architect and Society edited by
the British historians John Fleming and
Hugh Honor (a series that included
James Ackermans elegant monographic
essay on Palladio, among others), the
book was first and foremost intended as
a new kind of work on a city, one that,
rather than surveying major monuments
and historical buildings one by one, took
an the whole fabric and structure of an
urban region. In this attempt, Banham
worked to develop an entirely radical
view of urban architecture, one that has
had a major impact an the discipline of
architectural history.
In this context, the book was very
different from traditional architectural and
urban histories that surveyed the major
monuments of a city or considered its
planning history, but without constructing
any overall schema that would link the
two. Its subtitle, The Architecture of
Four Ecologies, marked it out as special
and different. Joining architecture to the
idea of its ecology, this title immediately
announced Banhams intention to pose
the interrelated questions: what had
architecture to do with ecology, what
might be an ecology of architecture, and
even more important, what would be the
nature of an architecture considered in
relation to its ecology?
Taken together, Banhams answers to
these three questions provided a road
map for the study of urban architecture
not just in its geographical, social, and
historical context - this was already
a common practice among the social
historians of architecture in the late 60s
-but as an active and ever-changing
palimpsest of the new global metropolis.
Not incidentally, they also entirely
redefined the architecture that scholars
were used to studying, now embracing
all forms of human structure from the
freeway to the hotdog stand, and a
plurality of forms of expression not simply
confined to the aesthetic codes of high
architecture. Here, of course, lay one of
the problems for his early reviewers: as
a critic, Banham had established himself
as an apologist for Pop Art and pop
culture, a reputation that, together with
his evident fascination with technological
innovation and change, made it all too
easy for the book to be seen as a Pop
history of LA.
The very inclusion of traditionally
non-architectural
structures
-from
freeways to drive-in restaurants, and
thence to surfboards - obscured the
real seriousness of Banhams intent to
destabilize the entire field of architectural
46

history. But an this he was explicit from


the outset. The city, he wrote, has
a comprehensible, even consistent,
quality to its built form, unified enough
to rank as a fit subject for a historical
monograph.
Historical
monograph?
Can such an old-world, academic, and
precedent-laden concept lay claim to
embrace so unprecedented a human
phenomenon? [LA, 21] After all, the
traditional history of LA architecture had
already been written by his friend the
architectural historian David Gebhard in
a model version of the classical type of
architectural gazetteer.9 But Banhams
history was not to be confined in a study
of, as he put it, dated works in classified
styles by named architects; rather he
wanted to embrace the extremes of
hamburger stands, freeway structures
and civil engineering. Hence his
programmatic intent to insert these
polymorphous architectures into a
comprehensible unity that finds its place
within their context - the four ecologies.
In his attempt to take on the whole fabric
and structure of an urban region, Banham
was forced by the special conditions of
LA to develop an entirely radical view
of urban architecture, and one that has
had a major impact an the discipline of
architectural history over the last thirty
years.
Indeed LA turned out to be precisely the
vehicle needed to blow up what Banham
had earlier called trad history, precisely
because it defied the trad city as a city,
and the trad place of architecture an
the streets and squares of the trad city;
precisely because Los Angeles was a city
where the structure of the regional space
was more important than individual
grids or fabric; precisely because of
its semi-self-conscious pop culture;
precisely, finally, because it represented
to trad historians everything a city
should not be, it was possible to write the
kind of history of it that was everything a
history of architecture should not be.10
It is in this context, then, that I want to
approach the development of Banhams
thought as a hi.rtorian rather than the
Journalist assumed by his reviewers, as
he encountered LA, that apparently most
unhistorical of Cities, and to explore the
effects of his complex response an the
history of architecture and of Cities.
It was in the summer of 68, following
radio programs dealing with the French
student revolt, the revolution at Hornsey
College of Art, the Velvet Undergrounds
LP White Light, White Heat, the showing
of Jean-Luc Godards Weekend, the
assassination of Robert Kennedy, the
ongoing war in Vietnam, and the Russian
Invasion of Prague, that listeners to the
British Broadcasting Companys Third
Program, the channel for intellectual
discussion and cultural commentary,

Mrz 2003
were treated to the decidedly better
news of Reyner Banhams visit to Los
Angeles in four witty talks. As published
in the BBCs house Organ The Listener,
between August 22 and September 12,
they were titled respectively: Encounter
with Sunset Boulevard; Roadscape with
Rusting Rails; Beverly Hills, Too, Is a
Ghetto; and, finally The Art of Doing Your
Thing.11
Banham began by recounting his perplexity
at the layout of the City as a whole by telling
the story of his journey to Los Angeles by
bus, and his mistake in assuming the
downtown bus terminal would be closer
to Sunset Boulevard and his hotel in
Westwood than the Santa Monica terminal
would be. Sunset, he found, was one of
those arteries that traverses the side of
the LA River valley from Downtown to the
sea. The point of the story was, further, to
demonstrate to himself it seemed as much
as to his audience the wonder of the rooted
Norfolk-reared, London-based, non-driving
Banham feeling at home in Los Angeles.
And even more curiously he concluded
by arguing that indeed, London and Los
Angeles had a lot in common, each a
conglomeration of small villages, spread
out in endless tracts of single-family
houses, despite the vast apparent
differences - car travel, freeways, climate,
scale - between them. For Banham, the
structural and topographical similarities
were striking.
The second talk picked up an this theme to
explore the infrastructural formation of LA,
and its basis not so much in freeways, as
the commonplace went, but in the vast and
expansive light rail system built up between
the 186s and 1910, Pacific Electrics
inter-urban network, that gradually,
between
1924
and
(extraordinarily
enough) 1961, formed the backbones of
LAs working and living systems. This was
however a preface to what was to enrage
critics a couple of years later, Banhams
eulogy of the freeway system: this
non-driver turned driver out of instant love
with a city was exultant at the automotive
experience, waxing eloquent over the
drive down Wilshire toward the sea at
sunset, and downplaying the notorious
smogs in comparison to those in London:
his proof: a shirt that looks grubby in
London by 3 p.m. can be worn in Los
Angeles for two days. 12
The third talk looked at Beverly Hills, an
exclusive community self-incorporated
specifically to prevent the schools from
being invaded by other classes and
ethnicities, the most defensive residential
suburb in the world, an enclave of
unrelieved middle class singlefamily
dwellings, created to send children to
school without the risk of unsuitable
friends. The Listener article was illustrated
by a Ralph Crane photo of a typical upper
middle class family relaxing around the

pool. Banham noted the apparently total


indifference to the needs of all communities
except ones own that is one of the most
continuously unnerving aspects of public
life in Los Angeles, the ugly backside
of that free-swinging libertarian ethic that
makes so much of Angeleno life irresistibly
attractive.13 This would be Banhams
didactic method - that of contrast, for
and against balancing each other, with
more often than not the for an the winning
side.
In Banhams account, Beverly Hills was
a self-contained, specialized area, and
a socio and functional monoculture.
For him it was the proof of the fact that if
you insist an trying to use LA as if it were
a compact European pedestrian city you
become campusbound. Banham admits
that he too nearly succumbed to this
mentality: At the University of California
in Los Angeles (UCLA) you never stir
out of the Rancho San Jose de Buenos
Ayres. You live in digs in Westwood, stroll
over to classes, eat in the Faculty Club
or Westwood Village restaurants, go to
Village bookshops and cinemas. In short
you do exactly what we accuse Angelenos
of doing, living restricted and parochial
lives that never engage the totality of Los
Angeles. But Banham was, he claims,
saved by the realization that the amount
of distorted and perverted information
circulating about Los Angeles in
quasi-learned journals about architecture,
the arts, planning, social problems and
so forth, came not so much from hasty
judgments formed by lightning visitors, but
rather from visitors who may have spent a
semester, a year, or even longer, in the city,
but have never stirred beyond the groves of
academe - eucalypts, jacarandas, bananas
-planted in the 1920s an the old Wolfskill
ranch that too can be a ghetto.14
Finally, Banham delivered his judgment
an the pop culture of LA: its doing your
own thing tradition of artistry, from the
motorcycle pictures of Billy Al Bengston
in the early 60s, to Von Dutch Hollands
painted crash helmets, and the ubiquitous
surf board decoration down in Venice,
to that monument to do-it-yourself
culture, Simon Rodias Watts Towers, the
do-it-yourself sublime. These were not, as
some European critics seem to maintain in
any way naive or folksy. Their structure is
immensely strong, the decoration of their
surfaces resourceful and imaginative.15
The same was true of contemporary pop
artists, like Ed Ruscha -his 26 Gasoline
Stations, his 34 Parking Lots, his Every
Building an Sunset Boulevard, were all,
to Banhams eyes, dead-pan statements
that were content to do their own thing,
neither judging nor criticizing.
These apparently random radio musings an
his recent travels emerge, with hindsight,
to be entirely systematic, as we realize
that Banham was carefully building up
47

Amerika-Exkursion
three of his four final ecologies - the beach,
the foothills, and the freeways, as well as
beginning the treatment of its alternative
architecture, that of fantasy. Subsequent
articles in Architectural Design (LA: The
Structure Behind the Scene16) elaborated
his take an the transportation network and
its process of continual adjustment. By the
Spring of 1971, the overall plan of the book
had been set, and its complicated outline
developed.
And the structure of the book was indeed
complicated - a number of reviewers
castigated its apparent lack of unity, and
even suggested reordering the chapters.
But Banhams ordering was in fact a part
of his conscious attempt to reshape not
only how one looked at a city like Los
Angeles - an order forced by the unique
form of the city itself - but also how one
wrote architectural history in a moment of
widening horizons and boundaries; when
the very definition of architecture was being
challenged and extended to every domain
of technological and popular culture, and
inserted into a broad urban, social, and,
of course, ecological context. Thus he
self-consciously intersected chapters an
the ecologies of architecture, with those
an the architecture itself, and these again
with notes an the history and bibliography
of the city.
The book opens with a brief history of
the geographical and infrastructural
formation of the city, tellingly entitled In
the Rear View Mirror, as if one could, as
indeed Banham did, glimpse fragments
of that not-so-Jong history while driving
the freeways and glancing back(wards)
into the rear view of the city. This was
followed by four chapters an each of the
four ecologies of the title: Surfurbia
(the beach and coastline); Foothills (the
Santa Monica Mountains); The Plains
of Id (the great flat central valley); and
the most important one of all, Autopia
(the freeway system and its correlates).
These ecological studies did not form a
continuous narrative but were broken in
sequence by four parallel chapters an
the specific architectures of LA dealing
with The exotic pioneers, Fantastic
architecture, the work of the distinguished
foreign Exiles, arid concluding with a
homage to the new LA modernism of the
1950s embodied in the Case Study House
movement, in Banhams eyes The Style
that Nearly but not quite became a true
regional genre. These were interrupted
by four thematic chapters that stepped
out of the systematic study of ecology
arid architecture to add notes an the
development of the transportation network,
the culture of enclaves unique to LA, arid
a brief consideration of downtown. This
last chapter was the most heretical with
respect to traditional city guides. Where
the latter would start with the old center
arid demonstrate a nostalgic sense of its
48

loss, in Banhams view a note was all


that downtown deserved in the context of
a city that had become an entire region,
arid where downtown seemed just a
blip an a wide screen. Finally, Banhams
programmatic conclusion was entitled An
Ecology for Architecture.
Such a complicated arid multi-layered
structure
was
obviously
Banhams
attempt to break up irrevocably the normal
homogeneity of architectural narratives
arid urban studies, insistently inserting
the one into the other in a kind of montage
that worked against the narrative flow
to instigate pauses for reflection arid
re-viewing; as if the historian/critic was
circling around his objects of study, viewing
them through different frames at different
scales arid from different vantage points.
On one level, this structure was entirely
new, one engendered by the special
conditions of Los Angeles itself; it was a
freeway model of history, one that saw
the city through movement arid as itself
in movement. On another level, however,
Banham the self-conscious historian of
modernism, who had ten years earlier
published the first full-length study of
architectural theory arid design between
the Wars, was drawing inspiration from
many precedents - proclamations of
modernism that called for the rejection of
high architecture in favor of structures
generated by functional arid technological
demands; alternative modernist utopias
from the technotopias of Buckminster
Fuller to the contemporary work of the
Archigram group in London; appreciations
of the consumer society and its modes
of representation, exemplified in the
discussions and exhibitions of the
Independent Group in London, and notably
in their This is Tomorrow exhibition of
195617; scientific prognostications of the
future, and especially the potential effects
of new biological, genetic, and chromosome
research. All these paradigms and many
more were formative for Banhams radical
rewriting of history and theory. But, for
the purpose of exemplifying the special
character of LosAngeles, two models are
particularly significant; one that had a
major impact an the narrative form of the
book, the other an its ecological content.
Both, in a way that indicates Banhams
polemical intention to criticize and continue
the positive tendencies he detected in
the first Modernisms, were themselves
exemplary statements of high modernist
positions.
The first was Le Corbusiers celebrated
manifesto-book of 1923, Vers une
Architecture, translated into English as
Towards a New Architecture, a precedent
which might at first seem surprising,
given Banhams often repeated rejection
of what he called academic formalism
and his critique of inadequate, modernist,
functionalism. But Banham had early an

Mrz 2003
taken it to be his mission as a historian to
fill in what he called the Zone of Silence:
the history of the Modern Movement
between 1910 and 1926, that is between
what Sigfried Giedion had taken as the
subject matter of his Bauen in Frankreich
(1928-29) and his later Space, Time
and Architecture (1940-41). The then
commonly-held assumption was that the
end of the great years of the Modern
Movement should be dated around the
time of the First World War; thus Nikolaus
Pevsner, Banhams PhD advisor, had
concluded his Pioneers of Modern De.rign
with the industrial design exhibition of the
Deutscher Werkbund in 1914; Giedions
Bauen in Frankreich had stopped even
further back with the turn of the century.
Banham, in his PhD thesis, published in
1960 as Theory and Design in the First
Machine Age, argued otherwise. 18 Here
he not only introduced his innovative view
that the Futurist Movements emphasis an
technology was central to the history of
modern architecture, but also undertook
for the first time a close analytical reading
of Le Corbusiers writings. Vers une
Architecture, Banham wrote, was one of
the most influential, widely read and least
understood of all .the architectural writings
of the twentieth century. (TD 220) In
analyzing the form of this book, assembled
out of individual chapters from earlier
issues of the journal LEsprit Nouveau, he
found it without argument in any normal
sense of the word. It was made up of a
series of rhetorical or rhapsodical essays
an a limited number of themes, assembled
side by side in such a way as to give an
impression that these themes have some
necessary connection. (TD 222-223)
Banham identified two main themes in
Le Corbusiers chapters -those that dealt
with what Banham called the Academic
approach to architecture, dealing with
architecture as a formal art derived from
Greek and Roman models, and as it had
been taught in the BeauxArts schools, and
those that dealt with Mechanistic topics:
the engineers aesthetic, ocean liners,
aircraft, cars, and the like. These themes
alternated, chapter by chapter, through
the book, with the Mechanistic essays
firmly sandwiched within the others.
Banham further noted the rhetoric of the
illustrations, the celebrated facing-page
photos that pointed comparisons, historical
and aesthetic. This, still one of the very
best readings of Le Corbusier we have, is
revealing in a number of ways.
First, it reveals the underlying mission of
Banhams entire career, dedicated so to
speak to freeing the mechanistic from
the embrace of the academic. As he wrote
in the conclusion to Theory and Design,
Banham espoused the rediscovery of
science as a dynamic force, rather than the
humble servant of architecture. The original
idea of the early years of the century, of

science as an unavoidable directive to


progress and development, has been
reversed by those who cheer for history,
and has been watered down to a limited
partnership by the mainstream. Those
who have re-explored the twenties and
read the Futurists for themselves feel once
more the compulsion of science, the need
to take a firm grip an it, and to stay with
it whatever the consequences. [TD,13]
We might well imagine that in LA Banham
found the solution to the modernist dream
of the ubiquitous automobile, sketched
with primitivist formalism by Le Corbusier
in his comparison of the sports car with the
Parthenon.
Secondly, Banhams description of the
narrative structure of Vers une Arcbitecture
might well apply directly to that of his own
book Los Angeles, with its interspersed
series of essays an two main themes (the
ecological and the architectural) together
with its insistent visual layout with paired,
comparative, photographs an facing
pages. In this sense we might infer that
Los Angeles was in some way Banhams
response to, and triumph over, what he
regarded as the central manifesto of 1920s
modernism, and we would be reinforced in
this conclusion by his sly acknowledgement
to Corbusier in the last chapter, entitled
not Towards A New Architecture, but
Towards a Drive-In Bibliography. Which
we might decipher as (Driving) Towards a
New Architecture.
The second major influence an the
content of Los Angeles was perhaps more
substantial, and came from Banhams
discovery of a work by Anton Wagner,
a German urban geographer who had
discovered Los Angeles as a thesis topic
between 1928 and 1933 through the
auspices of his uncle who had settled
in Santa Monica in 1878. There Wagner
completed his research, finally publishing
his monumental geographical study in
1935 with the title Los Angeles. Werden,
Leben und Gestalt der Zweirnillionstadt
in Sdkalifornien (Los Angeles. The
Development, Life, and Form of the City
of Two Million in Southern California). 19
The subtitle of Wagners book was, as he
noted, calculated to evoke comparisons
with that other paradigmatic modern
metropolis, Berlin. Los Angeles, he noted in
the Preface, was a city which far exceeds
Berlin in expansiveness, [WLA 1] and he
drew a map that superimposed the plans of
the two metropoli to prove the point.
Wagners research for the book was
exhaustive, if not exhausting: throughout
he recounts the results of numerous
interviews of all types of inhabitants,
and his understanding of the city was
accomplished by a rigorous survey
conducted, despite the distances involved,
mostly an foot (unlike Banhams), as he
explored and mapped its lived space and
access paths (Lebensraum). At the same
49

Amerika-Exkursion
time (like Banham) he took his own photos:
I captured the appearance of the cities
and quarters in numerous photographs
which still bring to mind the details of the
cityscape, despite increasing spatial and
temporal distance. [WLA, 7]
Interested in the play of forces of nature
and activities of man - the need to
study all the geographical factors and the
biosphere of the region - and the urban
landscape [die stdtische landschaft] he
started the book with a detailed study of
the citys geological history and structure
- its geological dynamism as he called it.
Indeed, dynamism was the watchword of
Los Angeles for this European observer:
A quickly evolving landscape, and a
city whose formation proceeded faster
than most normal urban development,
thereby encompassing much larger spatial
units, requires an emphasis of dramatic
occurrences, movement and forces.
Especially for the current form of Los
Angeles, becoming is more characteristic
than being. This determines the method
of representation. [WLA, 6] And he
concluded: For Los Angeles . . . tradition
means movement. [WLA, 207] Present
during the major Long Beach earthquake of
March 10, 1933, he was well aware of the
kinds of movement to which Los Angeles is
susceptible, and characterized the building
of the city as a struggle between nature
and man: the life of so artificial an urban
organism . . . depends an how much it
is secured against catastrophes. [WLA,
166]
Beyond this totalizing and systematic
yet dynamic and processual geological
history of the city, Wagner traced its
successive development booms and the
growth of its communities in meticulous
detail from the establishment of the first
pueblos and ranchos, which he maps, to
the development of the rail transportation
system, again mapped, to the aspect of
every quarter in the 1930s. These maps,
it should be noted, formed the basis
for many of those elegantly transcribed
by Mary Banham for the later book, as
well as forming the basis of Banhams
own perceptive history of transportation
networks and land ownership patterns.
Like Banham some thirty years later,
Wagners physical survey of the cityscape,
as he calls it, omits nothing, however
squalid; and no architecture however
tumble-down or populist escapes his gaze
and camera. He revels in the studio lots
or stage-set cities (Kulissenstdte) as
he calls them [WLA, 168]; he speaks of
the cultural landscape of the oil fields
with their drilling tower forests; [WLA,
169] he examines the stylistic and plan
typologies of every kind of housing, from
the modest bungalow to the apartment
house and Beverly Hill mansion; above
all he remarks an the eternal billboards
- a major aspect that dominates parts of
50

the frontal view, or elevation (Aufriss): the


business advertisement . . . The billboard
that emphasizes the incomplete (das
Unfertige) in the landscape, taking two
pages to describe the physiognomy of the
billboard as it competes for view amidst
the inelegant posts and wiring of the
telephone and electric lines. [WLA, 1721
Wagners conclusion to his epic study is
that It is not only architects, statisticians
and economists who should draw lessons
from this work of urban geography, but
everyone who is a member of an urban
community. [FLA, Zo7]
It is easy to see what Banham drew an
as inspiration from this unique work: the
idea of a city whose history is firmly rooted
in its geology and geography - a rooting
that is itself as mobile as the ecological
circumstances of its site; the idea of a city
that is important as much for change as for
permanence; the idea of the architecture of
the city as less important than the totality
of its constructions; the notion,finally, of
taking the city as it is as opposed to any
utopian, idealistic, or nostalgic vision of
what it might be. As he wrote in the article
LA: The Structure behind the Scene,
Los Angeles represents processes of
continuous adjustment, processes of
apportionment of land and resources . .
. . As far as Los Angeles is concerned,
the land and the uses of the land are . .
. the things that need to be talked about
first.20 His history of LA development,
of the transportation network, of the
transformation of the city from ranchos and
pueblos into a single sprawling metropolis
takes its cue at every moment from
Wagner. Finally, Wagners understanding
that it is movement of every kind that
characterizes Los Angeles is echoed in
Banhams own sense that if there is a local
language to be identified in Los Angeles, it
is a language of movement.
In the light of such precedents, what
appeared to critics as Banhams apparently
light-hearted drive-by approach to Los
Angeles, emerges as a tightly constructed
part manifesto, part new urban geography,
that, joined together, form an entirely
unique kind of history. Answering
Banhams own call for a post-technological,
post-academic, even post-architectural,
discourse, the book resolutely sets out to
engage the city as it is, refusing to lower
its gaze in the face of sprawl, aesthetic
chaos, or consumerist display. Rather
than, with Le Corbusier, calling for a new
architecture, Banhams manifesto prefers
to ask for a new and uncompromising
vision, one that might not immediately
see what it wants to see, but nevertheless
may be rewarded by glimpses of other,
equally interesting and satisfying subjects.
Rather than, with Anton Wagner, calling
for a totalizing geo-urbanism, Banhams
self-fabricated ecology provides hem with
an open framework for heterogeneity in

Mrz 2003
subject matter and observation.
The city of Los Angeles, then, was both
vehicle and subject for Banham, and its
strange attraction allowed hem to forge a
new sensibility in his own work, one that
would, just over ten years later, be fully
explored in the equally misunderstood
work, Scenes in America Deserta. Like
LosAngeles, this book was greeted as
a guide, an object in a desert freaks
checklist, but also like LosAngeles, its
purpose was more serious and radical.21
Treated as a set of personal visions of
different deserts, it stands as a poetic
evocation of landscape, to be set beside
all its British and American romantic
precedents; but treated, as Banham
no doubt intended, as a new kind of
environmental history, it is clearly the
logical conclusion, the second volume,
of a work that, as Banham made clear in
America De.rerta, has as its major purpose
the complex examination of environmental
experience as a whole. And while the eye
of the beholder that looks in the rear-view
mirror or across the Mojave is first and
foremost Banhams eye, by extrapolation
it stands for a sense of the meaning of
objects in space that goes far beyond the
architectural, the urban, the regional, to
engage the phenomenology of experience
itself.
Anthony Vidler, Los Angeles
December 2000
1 Blaise Cendrars, Flollyavood:: Mecca of the Movies
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), p.
i7. Translation of Hollywood, La Mecque du Cinema
(Paris: Grasset, 1936).
2 Reyner Banham, Los Angeles. Ihe Architecture of
Four Lcologies (London: Allen Lane, The Penguin
Press, 1971).
3 Roger Jellinek, The New York 7irnes, Saturday July
io, i 971. The best recent discussion of LA literature,
for and against, is William Alexander McClungs
Landscapes of Desire: Anglo Mythologies of Z.os
Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press,
2ooo).
4 Thomas S. Hines, review of Reyner Banham,
Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four 1 cologies
(London: Allen Lane, i 97 i) in Journal of the Society of
Architectural 1-listorians, Vol. XXXI, No. i (March 1972),
pp. 75-77.
5 Francis Carney, Schlockology, review of Los
Angeles: 7he Architecture of Four Ecologies by Reyner
Banham, The New York Review of Books, June i, i
972.
6 Reyner Banham, LosAngeles, p. 236. All further
references to this work will be given in the text in the
form [LA ]followed by the page number.

Company, 1998).
9 David Gebhard and Robert Winter, A Guide to
Architecture in Southern California (Los Angeles,
1965).
10 The consideration of architecture as trad or nontrad was drawn by Banham in his critique of Sir Basil
Spences rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, in Coventry
Cathedral - Strictly `Trad, Dad, Nerv Statesman,
LXIII (May z5, 1962), pp. 768-769. The argument
over tradition was taken up by Stanford Anderson
in a lecture of 1963 at the Architectural Association,
London. See Stanford Anderson, `Architecture and
Tradition that isnt `Trad, Dad, in Marcus Whiffen,
ed., The History, Theorg and Criticism of Architecture
(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1964).
11

Reyner Banham, Encounter with Sunset


Boulevard, The Listener, Vol. 8o (zz August 1968): pp.
235-236; Roadscape with Rusting Rails, (zg August
1968): pp. 267-268; Beverly Hills, Too, Is a Ghetto (5
September 1968): pp. 296-298; The Art of Doing Your
Thing (i2 September 1968): pp- 330-331.
12 Banham, Roadscape with Rusting Rails, ibid., p.
268.
13 Banham, Beverly Hills, Too, Is a Ghetto, ibid., p.
296.
14 Banham, Beverly Hills, Too, Is a Ghetto, ibid., p.
298.
15
3 3 i.

Banham, The Art of Doing Your Thing, ibid., p.

16 Banham, LA: The Structure Behind the Scene,


Architectural Design Vol. qi (April, Ic97I): pp. 227-23o.
17 For an account of this exhibition and the Pop
movement in general, see Modern Dreams: The
Rise and Fall of Pop (London: The Institute of
ContemporaryArt, 1988).
18 Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine
Age (London: Architectural Press, ig6o). Further
references to this book will be cited in the text in the
form (TD).
19 Anton Wagner, Los Angeles: Werden, Leben und
Gestalt de Ztveimillionstadt in Sdkalifornien (Leipzig:
Bibliographisches Institut, 1935). A manuscript
translation of this work by Gavriel O. Rosenfeld, entitled
Los Angeles: The Development, Life, and Form of the
Southern Cli, fornian Metropolis was commissioned
by the Getty Research Institute in the History of Art and
the Humanities, Los Angeles, i 997. Further references
to this work will be in the text in the form [WLA ].
Wagner had been guided in his search for a topic
by his advisor at the University of Leipzig, the urban
geographer O. Schneider (who had himself published
a work an Traces of Spanish Colonization in the
American Landscape [Spuren Spanischer Kolonimhin
in US-Amerikanischen Landschaften, Berlin, 1928).
20 Banham, LA: The Structure Behind the Scene,
p. 227.
21 Banham, ScenesinAmericaDeserta (Salt Lake City :
Gibbs M. Smith, Inc., 1982).

7 Peter Plagens, The Ecology of Evil, ArtPbrum i i 5


(December, i 972): 67-76. Mike Davis, City of Quart.Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (London: Verso,
1990), p. 74.
8 Mike Davis, Lcology of Fear.- Los Angeles and the
Imagination of Disaster (New York: Henry Holt and

51

Amerika-Exkursion

52

Mrz 2003

The Transportation Palimpsest


A city built an transport - like all truisms
it offers a misleading truth, because it
is persistently interpreted as referring
only to automobile transport, and that
interpretation is so trivial and so shallow
historically that its use casts doubts an
the right of the user to speak. Motorized
transportation is almost as much of a
recent epiphenomenon and the basic city
of Los Angeles as it is in any other major
metropolis. However, the less densely
built-up urban structure of the Los Angeles
basin has permitted more conspicuous
adaptations to be made for motor transport
than would be possible elsewhere without
wrecking the city.
The fact that these parking-lots, freeways,
drive-ins, and other facilities have not
wrecked the city-form is due chiefly to the
fact that Los Angeles has no urban form
at all in the commonly accepted sense.
But the automobile is not responsible
for that situation, however much it may
profit by it. The uniquely even, thin and
homogeneous spread of development that
has been able to absorb the monuments of
the freeway system without serious strain
(so far, at least) owes its origins to earlier
modes of transportation and the patterns
of land development that went with them.
The freeway system is the third or fourth
transportation diagram drawn and a
map that is a .deep palimpsest of earlier
methods of moving about the basin.
In the beginning was the Camino Real,
the Spaniards military road (if anything
so tenuous deserves so positive a name)
with its military bases, missions, and
assistencias, wandering with seasonal
variations across the present Los Angeles
area from south-east to north-west and its
way to the northern presidios of Monterey
and San Francisco. Its exact route seems
pretty difficult to establish nowadays,
though it is widely held to have followed
something like the line of the present
Wilshire Boulevard from the pueblo to
the La Brea tar-pits (that is, from present

downtown to Hancock Park) and then


turned north over the Cahuenga pass into
the San Fernando Valley. By the time the
Yankees moved in, or very soon after, there
must have been a well established track
running down to San Pedro, along which
the ox-drawn carretas could rumble an
their massive wheels, and by the end of
the sixties there began to be a well-beaten
track branching off the Camino Real to go
down to Santa Monica, and so forth. But
movement was painfully slow; two days to
Santa Monica, and in the memories of the
grandparents of men my own age it could
take up to a week to get into the downtown
area from the farms south of Riverside with
a loaded wagon.
While transportation remained in this
condition, the pueblo city of Los Angeles
could not hope to be more than a minor
market-town - so things could not be
allowed to remain in that condition for
long after the ambitious Yankees arrived,
and an this point there was sufficient
consensus for community action. However
much the pioneer railroad [30] -down to the
harbour at San Pedro may have served the
private ends of its chief promoter, Phineas
Banning, owner of the rancho-Land
where the new port would be built, the
railway was financed with public money
- bond-issues by the City of Los Angeles
and the County. The line began operation in
1869, connecting the business community
in the city with deep-water anchorages
at Wilmington / San Pedro, where, after
Bannings dredging activities, there was
eighteen feet draught clearance over the
sand-bar.
Yet it now appears that the true importance
of the Wilmington line was less in its
inherent usefulness than as a negotiable
property or bargaining-counter in the
railroad deals of the next decade. When
that same business community discovered
that the Southern Pacific line from San
Francisco to Yuma might ignore them and
go straight across the high desert, they

Reyner Banham
aus: Reyner Banhams Los Angeles The
Architecture of four ecologies, 1971

53

Amerika-Exkursion
could see only economic stagnation in a
future that would leave them disconnected
from direct access to the transcontinental
railroads - few cities bypassed by the main
trunk routes prospered. So they had to
bestir themselves again and the infant
Wilmington line was part of the kings
ransom the Southern Pacific extracted
from Los Angeles before they would agree
to divert their line south over the Soledad
pass, and down through the San Fernando
Valley into the pueblo and then east to San
Bernardino and an to Yuma.
This arrangement was patently useful to
the S P, who could bring heavy equipment
and materials ashore at Wilmington and up
the citys line, and then build out east and
west from the pueblo, instead of having
to overland everything through the San
Joaquin Valley from San Francisco. The
conclusion of the deal was also, as far
as anyone can judge, the most important
single event in the history of the area after
the foundation of the pueblo in 1781, and
considerably more consequential than
anything since.
The terms of the deal with the S P began to
shape the future supercity almost at once.
Construction began in three directions from
the pueblo: north to San Fernando, east to
Spadra en route to San Bernardino, both
as part of the transcontinental linkage,
and south-east to the vineyard colony at
Anaheim - a quid pro quo for the County.
The first train ran from San Fernando to
Spadra in 1874, and in the same year
Senator J. P. Jones of Nevada floated
a rival company to build a line from the
pueblo to deep water at Santa Monica,
to be connected back inland with the S
Ps competitors, the Union Pacific. In the
upshot it was to be a decade before any
transcontinental line beside the SP came
over the mountains into Los Angeles, but
Joness thwarted plan gave Los Angeles
the Santa Monica line.
These five lines radiating from the pueblo
towards San Fernando, San Bernardino,
Anaheim, Wilmington, and Santa Monica
constitute the bones of the skeleton an
which Greater Los Angeles was to be built,
the fundamentals of the present city where
each of these old lines is now duplicated by
a freeway - an the San Bernardino freeway,
tracks run down the central reservation for
some miles, so close is the agreement
between the rail and road networks.
But these lines did more than provide
the skeleton, they brought the flesh.
Subdivision of adjoining land proceeded
as fast as the laying of rails - construction
of the Santa Monica line began in January
1875, and land sales began in Santa
Monica itself in July the same year. More
important, if the words of J. J. Warner in
1876 mean what they appear to mean,
then commuting began almost as soon
as the rails were down - `Daily we go
to breakfast in Los Angeles from San
54

Bernardino, and back to its fountains and


groves ere nightfall. Before 1880 then, the
railways had outlined the form of the city
and sketched in the pattern of movement
that was to characterize its peculiar style
of life.
Shortly after 1880, too, the railroads were
to bring in the Angelenos in something like
their present quantities. Once the Santa
Fe had come down the Cajon pass into
San Bernardino from the desert, and then
west to the pueblo in 1885, there were two
genuinely competitive transcontinental
systems serving the area, and in the
ensuing rate-war, fares from Kansas City
were at one point cut to one dollar - ` one
single silver dollar,. The first great wave of
immigration from the Middle West poured
into Southern California and precipitated
a land boom that lasted almost a decade.
And although paper fortunes were made
and lost with the usual legendary rapidity
and parcels of land changed hands several
times a day and all the rest of it, the final
collapse of the boom seems to have been
far less disastrous than in the normal
scenario for such affairs; land-speculation
remains a major industry still. Yet, with a
rising tide of human immigration coming
in, and the process of land-subdivision
proceeding with the usual U S enthusiasm,
why was the result not the usual outward
sprawl from a central nucleus? The pueblo
/ downtown area did indeed concentrate
the bulk of the population in the second
half of the last century, but the nearer to the
end of the century the less convincing its
dominance - the immigrants who came in
after 1885 tended to broadcast themselves
more evenly across the face of the land.
In this trend a number of factors were
involved. First, a very large proportion of
the immigrant population came from thinly
peopled farming areas in the Middle West
and their intention in California was to farm
- they had the habits and the intentions of
a dispersed way of living. They could settle
anywhere that was served by water and
transportation - and the transportation was
there even before they arrived. Furthermore,
the railway promoters worked closely with
the subdividers, creating town-sites along
the tracks. Some of these speculations
faded away again, leaving only a pattern of
pegs in the ground, marking the unbought
lots. Others took root however, and formed
centres of settlement and development
with an economic and municipal life
somewhat independent of downtown. But
the speculators could not develop land
that was not theirs to subdivide; the order
in which the rancho lands were sold off by
the grant holders and their successors was
another dispersive factor; Santa Monica
may have been subdivided in 1875, but
adjoining San Jose de Buenos Aires just
inland was not successfully subdivided
until half a century later.
But the greatest dispersive factor is what

Mrz 2003
is hinted at in Warners apparent reference
to commuting habits; given a railway
system it was as convenient to live in San
Bernardino or Santa Monica as an the outer
fringes of the central city, especially where
those fringes were illserved by any form of
transportation, as they were until after the
railway age had begun. Judge Widneys
Spring and Sixth Street line opened
operations with its horse-drawn street-cars
only in 1874, to connect the then business
area with the fashionable residential zone
around Spring and Hill, and in the next
fifteen years other street-car lines opened
in Pasadena, Pomona, Santa Monica, San
Bernardino and Ontario (where the mules
rode back down the long gentle slope
of Euclid Avenue an special flat-trucks
behind the cars, which were powered by
gravity in this direction). But by that time
- by 1887 in fact - George Howlands Pico
Street line was operating out of downtown
to serve the `Electric Railway Homestead
Association Tract and the definitive age
of the development of Los Angeles had
begun.
Local electric services by street railways
and inter-urban lines were to make almost
every piece of land in the Los Angeles
basin conveniently accessible and thus
profitably exploitable, and the Pico line
was the true beginning of the process,
not only because it was directly linked to a
subdividing company, but because it also
formed the basis of the early speculations

Route map of the Pacific Electric Railroad, 1923

of Sherman and Clark, pioneers of the


get-rich-quick electric railway. They
seem to have been primarily speculators
(`General Moses Sherman liked to have a
finger in every profitable pie within reach)
whose companies floated, grew, collapsed,
merged, came and went, were wrested
from them by outraged shareholders, but
popped up again under different guises.
In the process, lines were built down to
the University of Southern California and
up to Pasadena (largely by merging and
connecting existing local companies)
and, in `Shermans March to the Sea, out
through Hollywood to Santa Monica with an
extension to Ocean Park in 1896 - perhaps
the most important of all their ventures
since it provided the transportation
infrastructure for an area of land that was
to contribute much to the present character
of the city.
But Sherman and Clark were small fry
compared to the next generation of
electric railway Promoters, especially
Henry Edmunds Huntington, son of Collis
P. Huntirigton of Southern Pacific fame.
In fifteen years of wheeling, dealing,
buying-out the Santa Monica network,
beating off rivals (including, confusingly
enough, the Southern Pacific from time to
time), consolidations and reorganizations,
culminating in the `great merger he gave
the City the Pacific Electric Railroad
(and, out of the proceeds, his palace in

55

Amerika-Exkursion
San Marino as the Huntington Museum
and Library). The PEs `Big Red Cars,
so called to distinguish them from the
narrow-gauge street railways operated by
the associated Los Angeles Railway Co.,
operated over standardgauge tracks that
ran, for much of their lengths, over private
rights-ofway, avoiding the congestion of
the streets, though they had to become
street railways when they entered already
well-developed areas, running in central or
lateral reservations.
The Big Red Cars ran all over the Los
Angeles area - literally all over. The mute
map of the PE [30] at its point of greatest
extension, when it operated 1,164 miles of
track in fifty-odd communities pretty well
defines Greater Los Angeles as it is today.
Services ran down the coast to Balboa
and along the foot of the Palisades to the
mouth of Santa Monica Canyon; up into the
valley and to San Fernando; to Riverside,
Corona, and San Bernardino; out through
La Habra and through Anaheim to Orange;
through the foothill Cities of the Sierra
Madre to Glendora, and via Pasadena to
Echo Canyon and Mount Lowe. Within
the area laced by this network the Stops
and terminals already bore the names of
streets and localities that are current today.
Not only did the PE outline the present form
of Los Angeles, it also filled in much of~ its
internal topography, since its activities were
everywhere involved - directly or otherwise
- with real estate.
Yet real estate was to be one of the two
factors that undid this masterpiece of urban
rapid transport. As subdivision and building
promoted profitably increased traffic, they
also produced more intersections and
grade crossings where trains could be
held up and schedules disrupted, so that
the service began to deteriorate and street
accidents began, in the twenties, to give
the Big Red Cars a bad name. And what
was obstructing the grade crossings and
involved in helping to cause the street
accidents was the other factor in the
undoing of the P E; the automobile.
Convenient as the services of the PE
might be, the door-to-door private Gar was
even more convenient in this dispersed
city, and had begun to proliferate in the
area even before the inter-urban railway
network reached its operational peak. As
early as 1915 the automobile had begun
to steal custom directly from the PE, since
it was used for the Jitney services that
cruised the main streets and avenues
picking up waiting passengers at the trolley
Stops. Even so, it took the automobile
an unconscionable time to kill off the PE
(partly because of shortages and rationing
in the Second World War) and it was not
until 1961 that the last train ran an the line
through Watts to Long Beach - both places
virtual creations of the P E.
By that time the city had already embarked
an a programme of studies in the kind of
56

Urban Rapid Transit now fashionable in


cityplanning circles (e.g. San Franciscos
BART line), but it looks like being a long
time before anything serious is done
about it. It will not be easy to persuade
Angelenos, many of them able to
remember the dying agonies of the P E, to
leave the convenient car at home - in spite
of their complaints about traffic jams - and
climb into- whatever coloured rolling-stock
the new dream-system offers. As Ray
Bradbury (a non-driving Angeleno) rightly
said in 1960:
. . . its no use building it unless we dramatize it
enough to make people use it. Im all for making
Walt Disney our next Mayor . . . the only man
in the city who can get a working rapid transit
system built without any more surveys, and turn
it into a real attraction so that people will want
to ride it.

The city got Sam Yorty for its next Mayor


and Walt Disney died and rapid transit
is presumably postponed till the Greek
Kalends. The automobile remains the
characteristic transportation of Angelenos.
The date when it became characteristic
is not easy to fix. The Automobile Club of
Southern California has been incapable
of conceiving any other form of movement
ever since its foundation in 1910, but
is notoriously among the most bigoted
lobbies operating in the area (which is
quite an achievement in that stronghold of
the John Birch Society). But if one takes
the conscious provision of large-scale
specialized facilities for automobiles as
marking their effective ascendancy, then
the establishment of the Motor Age in Los
Angeles dates neither from the foundation
of the Automobile Club, nor from the
building of the first freeway, but from about
1927.
Now, one of the attractions of the
automobile in a dispersed and relatively
under-equipped community is that it
requires, fundamentally, very few special
facilities - it will run tolerably on any fairly
flat, hard surface. So Sunset Boulevard
was not surfaced at all beyond Fairfax
Avenue as late as 1927. But in that year
work was already in hand on the first real
monument of the Motor Age: Miracle Mile
on Wilshire Boulevard. The Boulevard
itself was the creation of years of ad hoc
subdivisions, beginning with a quarter-mile
stretch West of the present McArthur Park
laid out in 1895 by the ineffable Gaylord
Wilshire - socialist, enthusiast, medical
crank but - more to the point - member of
a clan that had already developed parts
of Fullerton and knew their Business.
Further West, the stretch of the Boulevard
through Beverly Hills was regularized as
part of Wilbur Cooks plan of 1906, and the
continuation to the sea at Santa Monica
was completed in 1919. But the eastward
extension into downtown, which converted
West Lake Park into McArthur Park as we

Mrz 2003
know it, was not made until 1934 - after
some dogged resistance from downtown
interests to whom the shops on Wilshire
constituted a grave commercial threat.
The possibilities of shopping on Wilshire
had been spotted about a decade before,
by A. W. Ross, a real estate operator who
had looked into the probable Shopping
habits of the new, affluent, and motorized
inhabitants of areas like Beverly Hills, the
westerly Parts of Hollywood, or the areas
of the Wolfskill Ranch that were about to
become Westwood and Holmby Hills. The
chances appeared to be that they would
prefer to come to shops along the stretch of
Wilshire between La Brea and Fairfax, and
by 1928 this stretch was already known as
Miracle Mile.
But it was not open to unlimited commercial
development. Downtown interests had
wanted it to be a broad residential avenue,
not a business rival, and the city had
zoned it accordingly. Ross therefore had
to negotiate or litigate a spot waiver
to the residential zoning for every site,
and this he could only do for substantial
and well-regarded clients who would not
lower the supposed tone of the street. But
substantial operators were in the mood to
move, and the mighty Bullocks department
Store was ready for Wilshire Boulevard by
1928, though their chosen site was further
east, not an Miracle Mile proper. But
Bullocks-Wilshire, like the new shops on
the mile, were all built with parking-lots at

Parking behind Wilshire Boulevard

the rear [31] and were specifically designed


for motorized access, with Portes-cochres
or other specialized entrance facilities an
the parking side.
The result is a unique transitional
monument to the dawn of automobilism;
the shops on Miracle Mile stand hard
up to the sidewalk so that it looks like a
conventional Shopping street, except that
it is not clogged with cars mis-parked in
desperation by frustrated shoppers. All
but a few of them are safely and correctly
stowed away round the back, and Wilshire
Boulevard is one of the few great streets in
the world where driving is a pleasure. It is
also, of course, the first linear downtown,
with residential areas immediately behind
the parking-lots and almost seventy
thousand souls within walking distance,
never mind the motorized shoppers from a
city-wide catchment area.
More conventional public provisions for
the automotive age began in the same
years as Miracle Mile: the upgrading of
nondescript through-streets to the Status of
Boulevards (though long stretches of Santa
Monica and Pico, for instance, are still
pretty nondescript for mile after mile), the
installation of traffic signals (synchronized,
for the first time, on Wilshire) and the
Figueroa Street grade separation in the
north-east corner of downtown. This last - a
simple enough underpass in its origins - is
another historical Landmark of importance,
since it was the first of the works that

57

Amerika-Exkursion

Arroyo Seco Parkway, 1939

58

eventually led to the Arroyo Seco Parkway,


otherwise the Pasadena Freeway, the
beginning of the freeway network.
The grade separation was begun early in
1938, the Automobile Clubs celebrated
Traffic Survey proposing a freeway system
had been published the previous year, and
the State of California legislation that made
the freeways possible followed in 1939,
by which time the Arroyo Seco Parkway
was well in hand. It was only six miles
long, and it was a parkway for a variety
of reasons. One was emulation of Robert
Mosess celebrated parkway system in
New York; another was to mollify local
opinion, since the side had been sliced
off Elysian Park and the park strip in the
bottom of the Arroyo had been extensively
invaded by the time the highway reached
Raymond Hill and curled round into
Pasadena. No doubt Sunset magazine,

the official Organ of obsessive gardening


and planting in Southern California, had a
hand in the parkway concept too. Certainly
the magazine is credited with a lobby that
has sustained the parkway tradition ever
since, so that - however much one may
be amused at the signs an the freeways
warning Danger Landscaping Ahead
- one can still be grateful for this sustained
programme of planting and improvement
that has made the freeway embankments
and cuttings a visible environmental asset
to the city (even if freeway noise and dirt
are not).
The Arroyo Seco Parkway [32] was the only
section of the freeway system completed
before the Second World War. The first of
the post-war links, the Hollywood, went
over the mountain into the San Fernando
Valley, its southward extension became
the Santa Ana (of ill repute, because of its

Mrz 2003
jams and accidents) and the Pasadenas
southern leg became the Harbor Freeway.
This may sound like rapid progress, but
freeway building has not been as fast as it
sometimes supposed - the San Diego was
not over the Santa Monica mountains into
the valley until 1962, and my first road map
of Los Angeles, printed in 1964 still did not
show the western end of the Santa Monica
freeway.
Thus the wide-swinging curved ramps
of the intersection of the Santa Monica
and the San Diego freeways, which
immediately persuaded me that the Los
Angeles freeway System is indeed one of
the greater works of Man, must be among
the younger monuments of the system. It
is more customary to praise the famous
four-level intersection which now looks
down an the old Figueroa Street grade
separation, but its virtues seem to me little
more than statistical whereas the Santa
Monica/ San Diego intersection [33] is a
work of art, both as a pattern on the map,
as a monument against the sky, and as a
kinetic experience as one sweeps through
it.
And what comes next? The freeway system
is not perfect - what transport system ever

Intersection of Santa Monica and San Diego freeways

is? - and even though it is vastly better


than any other urban motorway system
of my acquaintance, it is inconceivable to
Angelenos that it should not be replaced
by an even better system nearer to the
perfection they are always seeking. A
rapid-rail system is the oldest candidate for
the succession, but nothing has happened
so far. The core of the problem, I suspect,
is that when the socially necessary branch
has been built, to Watts, and the profitable
branch, along Wilshire, little more will
be done and most Angelenos will be an
average of fifteen miles from a rapid-transit
station.
The next candidate was the Superfreeway,
with access only from existing freeways,
not from surface streets. This one never
seems to have got beyond the status of
a cocktail-party topic - better performance
can probably be got by filling out more of
the proposed grid of the present freeway
system [34] to increase the number of
usable alternative routes. As currently
proposed, the grid would give 1 500 miles
of freeways on a pattern of approximate
three-mile squares. After the Superfreeway
came the urban helicopter, connecting
landing pads next to freeway intersections

59

Amerika-Exkursion

Intersection of Santa Monica and San Diego freeways

and served by freeway-flyer bus services


(which had been proposed independently
as the simplest way of putting Watts back
in touch with the city).
And then in 1969 it was suddenly observed
that the fifth diagram of the transportation
palimpsest had been drawn, not in fancy
but in fact. It was in the air above the
Angelenos heads, but it was not the
helicopters that planners and professional
visionaries had led them to expect. With
hindsight, one can now see that in a city as
disurban as Los Angeles, the answer was
more likely to be rural than conventionally
urban, and what the Angelenos Gould See
over their heads was usually that most
rural of aircraft, the Twin Otter, designed for
bushwhacking the outbacks of Canada. As
an urban commuter plane it has the prime
rural virtue of short take-off and landing
runs (STOL) which enable it to operate out
of odd Corners of larger airports or from
small private and municipal airfields, mach
more cheaply than any helicopter, and to
potter about in the clear airspace below the
crowded jetways above.
Flying these bushcraft, airlines like Cable
and Aero-Commuter are - at this writing
- already offering a dozen daily scheduled
flights between Los Angeles International
Airport and all Stops to Fullerton, Barbank,
or El Monte, and twice that number of
Services to the alternative international
airport at Ontario. In other words, the
urban air-bus exists and is in regular
service in Los Angeles. As with Miracle
Mile, Los Angeles has Bone what we are
always told it will do, bat rarely does in fact
- prototyped a new solution for other cities
to contemplate.

60

Mrz 2003

Map of Los Angeles freeways and airports

61

Amerika-Exkursion

62

Mrz 2003

Views of Los Angeles


On my first visit to Los Angeles I was
conventionally prepared for almost
anything except for what it really looked
like - a quite beautiful place.
Nathan Silver: New Statesman, 28 March 1969

Now I know subjective opinions can vary,


but personally I reckon LA as the noisiest,
the smelliest, the most uncomfortable,
and most uncivilised major city in the
United States. In short a stinking sewer
...
Adam Raphael: Guardian, 22 July 1968

It is as though London stretched


unbroken from St Albans to Southend
in a tangle of ten-lane four-deck super
parkways, hamburger stands, banks,
topless drug-stores, hippie hide-outs,
Hiltons, drive-in mortuaries, temples
of obscure and extraordinary religions,
sinless joy and joyless sin, restaurants
built to resemble bowler hats, insurance
offices built to resemble Babylon, all
shrouded below the famous blanket of
acrid and corroding smog.

flavour there, liberated the individual


to enjoy the sun and space that his
environment so abundantly offered,
put the manifold advantages of a great
metropolitan area within his grasp.

aus: Reyner Banhams Los Angeles The


Architecture of four ecologies, 1971

Richard Austin Smith: Fortune, March 1965

In Los Angeles people think of space


in terms of time, time in terms of routes
. . . and of automobiles as natural and
essential extensions of themselves . .
. Los Angeles has no weather. It rains
during February but when it is not raining
it is warm and sunny and the palm trees
silhouette against the smoggy heat haze
sky.
Miles : International Times, 14 March 1969

Burn, Baby, burn!


Slogan of the Watts rioters, 1965

LA has beautiful (if man-made) sunsets.


Miles: op. cit.

James Cameron: Evening Standard, 9


September 1968

To be able to choose what you want to


be and how you want to live, without
worrying about social censure, is
obviously more important to Angelenos
than the fact that they do not have a
Piazza San Marco.
Jan Rowan: Progressive Architecture, February
1968

Whatever glass and steel monuments


may be built downtown, the essence
of Los Angeles, its true identifying
characteristic, is mobility. Freedom of
movement has long given life a special
63

Amerika-Exkursion

64

Mrz 2003

part III
Zusammenstellung von Plnen und Texten der wichtigsten
Bauwerke in Los Angeles und New York.

65

Amerika-Exkursion

cathedral of our Lady of the Angeles


Report
by Michael Webb
photos
by Grant Mudford

architect
client
mechanical engineering
address

Rafael Moneo
Archidiocese of Los Angeles
Ove Arup & Partners California
Temple Street / Grand Avenue

aus: domus 853 November 2002

site

foto

66

A cathedral for the ages The first, modestly


scaled Catholic cathedral of Los Angeles
was built in the 1870s, when L.A. was
a dusty farming town of 50,000 people.
In 1904, as immigrants flooded in, the
diocese resolved to build a new cathedral,
but the decision was repeatedly postponed
until the 1994 earthquake rocked Saint
Vibianas and made it unusable. Two years
later, developer Ira Yellin and architect
- planner Richard Weinstein organized
an international competition to select an
architect. Rafael Moneo was named the
winner on the same day that he came
to L.A. to accept the Pritzker Prize. The
archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal
Mahony, wanted to build over the humble
old structure; however, preservationists
objected, and a new, more prominent site
was found. The new cathedral occupies
a full city block atop Bunker Hill, just
west of the original settlement and City
Hall. In contrast to the Music Center
(an overwhelmingly banal arts acropolis
completed in 1969), which lies diagonally
across the street intersection, the cathedral
is asymmetrical in form and placement
on its rectangular site, and its plaza is
designed to serve as a civic amenity as
well as accommodate festive processions
and outdoor services. An outdoor cafe,
olive grove, fountains, gardens and
shade trees soften the expanse of scored
or stamped concrete. The complex is
contained yet readily accessible. Lita

Albuquerques fountain (a film of water


flowing over a white marble drum) and
cascade mark the point of entry from the
underground parking garage into a sunken
plaza and through an arch topped with a
carillon from the street. From this openair foyer, diverging flights of steps and a
ramp lead up to the north entrance and
main plaza. A pergola and double-glazed
windows (etched with angels) separate
the plaza from the river of cars churning
along the Hollywood Freeway to the north
(Moneo likens it to the Seine flowing past
Notre-Dame).
Moneo, whose previous experience of
designing sacred spaces had been limited
to a small chapel in Spain, understood the
challenge of creating an architecturally
distinguished building for a strong-willed
client and a multicultural archdiocese of
four million. Conscious of the difficulty that
the construction of the cathedral implied,
I did not covet the commission, but fate
ended up giving it to me, he later wrote.
The National Cathedral in Washington,
D.C., and Saint John the Divine in
Manhattan have been handcrafted over
generations, like their Gothic predecessors.
In L.A., a limited budget and an urgent
need for new space mandated completion
in less than four years. However, the
cardinal wanted the cathedral to endure
for at least five centuries. To this end,
the structure is mounted on 200 base

Mrz 2003

floorplan and section

isolators, which should cushion the impact


of the strongest earthquake, and the
concrete mix was carefully calculated to
achieve maximum density, impermeability
and evenly integrated colour. Theres a
suggestion of adobe in the warm-toned
concrete, and the cloisters and deep-set
windows recall the Spanish missions. But
the stepped profile of the walls, which fold
and jut at eccentric angles, avoids literal
allusions to history. The blocky forms are
an understated expression of the interior
volumes. The cathedral may be entered
though massive bronze doors to the south
or a more modest entry to the north, down
ambulatories lined with wedge-shaped
chapels that face outward to separate
private devotion from public worship. The
south ambulatory slopes gently up and is
tapered to create a forced perspective, and
light from a narrow slit in the ceiling gleams
off a floor of polished limestone blocks. A
baroque Spanish retablo mounted on the
west wall draws the eye. To attend mass
one can follow this processional route to the
end, turn into the nave and descend toward
the altar or pass directly inside through
openings between the top-lit chapels. For
inspiration, Moneo turned to Le Corbusiers
chapel at Ronchamp and Erik Bryggmans
Resurrection Chapel in Turku, Finland - two
of the very few buildings he considers to
be both modern and spiritual in feeling.
However, these places of worship serve
small groups of pilgrims or mourners; the
cathedral accommodates 3,000 and is open
to all. What they all share, the architect
observes, is light as the protagonist of
a space that tries to recover the sense
of the transcendent and is the vehicle
through which we are able to experience
what we call sacred. Most of the glass
in the cathedral is masked by screens of
veined Spanish alabaster that create a soft
glow more reminiscent of a Byzantine than
a Western church, though a few fugitive
sunbeams glance through the unshielded

interior model

light scoops over the transepts.


Within the spacious volume of the nave, the
folded planes and interwoven geometries of
walls, paving, slatted ceiling and alabaster
provide an inspirational experience. Shallow
transepts and a vestigial apse hint at a
cruciform plan, but the celebration of mass
is centralized by setting the altar at the front
of the sanctuary and allowing space and
seating to flow around it. The side chapels
create an insistent vertical rhythm, and an
axial path links the baptistery to the altar
- a vast slab of dark-red Turkish marble.
The impact of this glorious room would be
enhanced if the thicket of lamps suspended
above the pews were rigorously pruned
- or eliminated in favour of the recessed
ceiling spots that light the sanctuary. The
bronze trumpets that amplify sound are
less obtrusive than suspended speakers,
but again they are too prolific.
Still more distracting are the commissioned
artworks that will eventually fill nearly
every space and surface. The pioneers of
modernism banished surface ornament,
but the general public still finds bare spaces
unfriendly and insists on cluttering them.
When Moneo expressed the wish that
the art could have been more daring, the
cardinal responded: We have MOCA down
the street - let them do the contemporary
art. We have so many ethnic groups; we
want them to feel at home and recognize

basic things. This translates into figurative


forms- a sculptured angel over the door,
a tapestry of saints, a wreath of gold
angels around the base of the altar-that
are saccharine and curiously lacking in
conviction. The stained-glass windows of
a medieval church told biblical stories to
illiterate churchgoers, and the artists who
designed them believed in what they were
doing. But the L.A. cathedrals parade of
saints-modelled on people plucked from
the streets by a casting director- panders to
the everyday and mirrors its viewers like a
television sitcom.
The artist, Gregory Nava, has commented:
The figurative artists I admire take a
pessimistic view. This had to be entirely
hopeful and life affirming. Its tricky to do
that without Disney-fying the art or making
it sentimental. Still to come is a mural
recounting the history of Christianity in
Southern California that will cover the south
ambulatory wall. It is not a happy prospect.

section

67

Amerika-Exkursion

somol house
Report
by nicolai ouroussoff
Times Staff Writer

architect
client
mechanical engineering
address

Linda Pollari and Robert Somol


Linda Pollari and Robert Somol
Olympic Boulevard / Highland Ave.

aus: Los Angeles Time 15.05.2002


architecture review

When Worlds Collide

Linda Pollari and Robert Somol have designed a house for themselves that
embraces its urban context while evoking a bit of postwar paradise.

Linda Pollari and Robert Somols house offers a


shimmering facade to the busy streets outside.

68

With its single-family tract houses, pristine


lawns and streamlined cars, the suburban
dream of postwar Los Angeles faded
away long ago. It was swallowed up in
a whirlpool of soaring land prices, rising
congestion and social unrest.
But in recent years, a younger generation
of Los Angeles architects has been
revisiting those old suburban clichs
and imbuing them with a tougher urban
edge. The result has often been a grittier
vision of the city, a mix of suburban
tranquillity and urban chaos, baked under
a subtropical sun.
Few projects capture that shift with more
force than a recently completed house by
the architectural team of Robert Somol
and Linda Pollari. Built on a vacant lot
overlooking a busy intersection at Olympic
Boulevard and Highland Avenue, the
$425,000 house is conceived as a clash
of urban and suburban images, a vision
of the American dream under siege. As
such, it acts as a powerful metaphor for
a city precariously balanced between
fantasy and reality, between its shrinking
aspirations and a stubborn desire to
pursue worn-out dreams.
Pollari and Somol, who married in 1994,
moved here from the East Coast six
years ago. Pollari, 47, is chairwoman of
Environmental Design at Otis College
of Art and Design; Somol, 42, teaches
at UCLAs graduate department of
architecture. Like generations of young

architects before them, they saw Los


Angeles as a place where untested talents
could launch a career by designing small,
residential projects on limited budgets. But
the ideal client never appeared. And the
kind of abundant, cheap lots where early
Modernists such as Rudolf Schindler once
created their most revolutionary works no
longer exist.
Eventually, the couple decided that they
could best satisfy their architectural
aspirations by designing a house for
themselves. The lot they purchased was
no ones picture of paradise: Slightly
asymmetrical, it extends 150 feet along
Olympic Boulevard, tapering down from
60 feet wide along Highland to roughly
40 feet at its other end. Somol calls the
site an acoustical disaster zone, and he
estimates that thousands of cars, trucks
and buses pass by every day.
The organization of the plan is deceptively
simple. A carport faces Highland Avenue
while the rest of the house stretches
out along Olympic, framed by two long
walls that reflect the geometry of the site.
The rooms--office, kitchen, living area,
bathroom and bedroom--are arranged
in a single file, which decrease in size
as the walls converge. The rest of the
lot becomes an enclosed private yard,
a sliver of suburbia tucked behind the
houses barrier-like form.
In effect, the 1,700-square-foot house
becomes a wedge between two opposing

Mrz 2003

conditions: the mechanized world of the


automobile passing by outside and the
harmonious suburban world of the yard
in back. Seen from Olympic, the house
appears fortress-like. Its shimmering,
corrugated metal facade is relatively
blank, pierced by two horizontal, slot-like
windows.
Once inside, the house is as unpretentious
as an industrial shed. Its sleek, concrete
floors and industrial fixtures give it an
appealing informality. Its wedge-like shape
creates a forced perspective in the living
area, exaggerating its length.
What makes the design compelling is its
ability to transform a seemingly mundane
context into something of beauty. Set
at eye level, for example, the narrow
slot windows frame a view of the cars
streaming by outside in both directions.
The effect is mesmerizing. During rush
hour, the monotonous flow of cars evokes
the slow rhythm of waves lapping up
on a beach--a sort of soothing urban
tranquilizer.
The back wall, meanwhile, is more
delicately conceived. Two concrete block
segments break up the walls horizontal
rhythm. A long steel I-beam supports
the roof above a series of sliding glass
partitions, giving the house a surprising
sense of lightness. When they are open,
the glass doors disappear behind one of
the concrete block walls, so that the entire
house opens up to the backyard.
Seen from here, the yard is a compact
version of the conventional suburban
fantasy. A series of deck areas are carved
out of the lush, green lawn--an oval deck
for lounge chairs, a smaller concrete pad
for the barbecue. Eventually, the architects
hope to build a large amoeba-shaped pool
that will cover most of the yard. Modeled
on the swimming pool at the Flamingo
Hotel in Las Vegas, the pool will have a
shallow sand bar where couples can
recline in waist-high water and sip drinks.
The image evokes the Rat Pack glamour

of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., if


at low-budget prices. The idea is that the
American dream, perhaps a bit blurrier
after a few martinis, still haunts us. It
has simply been driven underground,
tucked away in the cracks and crevices
of the citys collective unconscious. Such
fantasies are a far cry from the Modernist
Case Study Houses of the 1950s. Then,
architects such as Pierre Koenig and
Raphael Soriano sought to create models
for a perfectly balanced universe. Their
designs--which seemed to embody Le
Corbusiers famous phrase that a house is
a machine for living--were an expression
of Utopian idealism, refined glass-andsteel structures where nuclear families
lived in blissful harmony with nature.
The Pollari Somol House sums up the
profound generational shift that has taken
place since that time. The old Utopian
order is dead. The new Utopia will be
rooted in harder realities, shaped by more
personal desires. It is less concerned
with high art ideals than with popular
images. Its sense of social mission lies
in its lack of pretension, its openness to
new experience, its empathy for everyday
life. It is a more complex, imperfect vision,
but seen from a certain perspective, it is
equally seductive - and perhaps more
within our reach.

Narrow windows give the cars streaming by a rhythm


like ocean waves.

69

Amerika-Exkursion

korean presbyterian church


Report
by bart lootsma
photos
by jan staller
aus: architektur aktuell, June 2000

architect
Greg Lynn FORM, Los Angeles
client
Douglas Garofalo Architects, Chicago
mechanical engineering
Michael Mcinturf Architects, Cincinnati
adress
Korean Presbyterian Church of New York, Queens,
NY FTL Happold, New York City
Long Island City, NY/43 - 05 37th Ave.
Kohrenz im Kosmos, oder: Diagramme in Kostmen. Ich kann mich erinnern, dass ich ziemlich berrascht war, als ich das erste Mal das fertige Gebude besichtigte. berrascht von der Umgebung - eine ziemlich
amorphe and undefinierte Industriegegend - und berrascht vom Gebude
selbst, das wesentlich, industrieller wirkte als ich es erwartet hatte, speziell beim ersten Besuch, als es noch im Bau war. Ich hatte das
Projekt vorher ziemlich hufig in Vortrgen und Publikationen gesehen,
und da war stets diese verfhrerische, fremdartige Gltte der Prsentation. Diese geschmeidigen blobs wirken nun pltzlich wie das segmentierte Ovum des Kosmos (Brian Massumi). Spter, vor nicht allzu
langer Zeit sah ich die Fotos, die Jan Staller von der Kirche gemacht
hat and pltzlich passte der Bau in eine Art neuer Kontinuitt, die ich
mir vorher nie vorstellen konnte. Und - natrlich - verstand ich: Das
Universum ist kein Ei. Es ist ein unglaublich komplexes and chaotisches
Ganzes. Nur brauchen wir manchmal das Ei, um es denken zu knnen.
Jan Stallers Fotos sind ganz anders
als die Architekturfotografie, die man
normalerweise in den Fachzeitschriften
sieht. Dort verffentlicht man blicherweise
Fotos, die dazu dienen ,, Architektur zu
domestizieren, wie das Janet Abrams
in ihrem Katalog ber Fotografie in
der frhen Moderne (Photographers
Gallery, London 1991) formuliert hat:
Die verffentlichten Abbilder sind ,Crufts
Best in Show`, verwandt zwar, aber so
gegenstzlich wie die Kter auf den
Straen (...) Architekturfotografie bereitet
Dich nur auf eine Optimalverfassung
vor, nicht nur ist das Gebude wie
neugeboren, unverdorben, sondern es
ist auch suberlich von seiner Umgebung
getrennt, stets wie im Sonnenbad, in
seinen wrmsten Tnen, lcheInd fr

70

die Kamera. Stallers Fotos sind fast das


exakte Gegenteil davon. Sie sind ziemlich
dster, weil der Fotograf bedecktes Wetter
oder sogar die Nacht fr die Aufnahme
seiner Bilder gewhIt hat, and er scheint
die Filme so entwickelt zu haben, dass
die Schwarztne starker herauskommen
and die Kontraste erhht sind. In einem
Foto (siehe Umschlagabbildung) ist das
Gebude fast versteckt hinter Fssern
and einem JOYS RUS-Billboard. In
einem anderen erhebt sich der Bau ber
einen tief schwarz asphaltierten Parkplatz
mit Lastwgen and alten Autos unter
der Prozessionsstiege. In Goldlettern
and koreanischer Schrift steht auf der
Hauptfassade geschrieben: New York
Presbyterian Church, das ist eine
Kirchenfabrik, eine Religionsindustrieanl

Mrz 2003

floorplans

age, die Messen fr zweieinhalb Tausend


Glubige veranstaltet. Aber die Kirche
beherbergt auch vielfltige nicht-religise
Programme in 80 Gruppenrumen,
eine Hochzeitskapelle mit 600 Pltzen,
verschiedene Versammlungsrume, einen
Raum fr Chorproben, ein Caf und einen
Kinderbetreuungsraum. Man stelle sich all
diese Leute vor, die von verschiedensten
Orten aus ganz New York kommen, die ihre
Erinnerungen an Korea mit sich tragen,
sich umher bewegen, ihre Ttigkeiten
in
verschiedensten
Konstellationen
verrichten - wie in einer riesigen
Ameisenfarm. Greg Lynn hat schon bei
vielen Gelegenheiten erklrt, wie das
Design fr die Kirche entwickelt wurde. Wie
im Computer verschiedene meta blobs
entsprechend ihren einzelnen Zonen,
denen
Gravitationskrfte
zugeordnet
werden, interagieren. Wie sie wachsen
and so lange miteinander zu neuen
Formen verschmelzen, bis sich eine Art
Aquilibrium eingestellt hat. Wie diese meta
blobs fr verschiedene Programme stehen,
einzelne Rume symbolisieren, die sich
zu einem groen Raum mit einer einzigen
Oberflche verbinden, der das gesamte
Bauprogramm enthlt. Wie sehr das auch
die Bauherren liebten, weil sie tatschlich
selbst die Formen beeinflussen and die
Dinge grer oder kleiner machen konnten,
ohne die Kohrenz des Gesamtkonzeptes
zu zerstren. Dann - eine neue Strategie:
Eine Reihe von Rhren wird auf das
Dach eines existierenden Gebudes
gelegt, das wir noch nicht gesehen haben,
die alte Knickerbocker-Wscherei. Die
Rhren wachsen and entwickeln sich
zu einer rippenartigen Struktur mit einer
inneren and einer ueren Haut. Weitere
Rhren fr Zugang und Erschlieung
werden hinzugefgt. In dieser Phase ist
die Geschmeidigkeit der blobs teilweise
bereits ersetzt von einem bestimmten
Grad an Segmentation, immer noch wirkt
aber alles miteinander verschmolzen.
Danach muss es eine dritte Phase

gegeben haben, in der das Projekt an


die Techniken des Baumeisters adaptiert
wurde. Konstruktionselemente erscheinen
and eine Industriefassade wird eingefhrt.
In dieser Phase hat das Projekt seine
ursprngliche Geschmeidigkeit verloren.
Es wirkt fast wie die Dekonstruktion eines
blobs. Was sich zunchst der Sprache
zu entziehen schien, wird nun wieder
zur Sprache, es wird durch die Sprache
wiederangeeignet. Alle Materialien erzhlen
pltzlich vielerlei Geschichten darber, was
sie sind, wie sie gemacht sind, wie sie
zusammenmontiert werden und wie sie
sich zu anderen Materialien verhalten. Was
zuerst wie eine kohrente Form wirkte, die
von alten mglichen komplexen Systemen
deformiert wurde, wurde pltzlich wieder
zur Komplexitt. Fr sich betrachtet ist das
kein Problem, weil das Gebude, wie es
nun dasteht, in mancher Hinsicht vielleicht
sogar berzeugender ist als wenn es ein
weicher blob geblieben wre: Denn das
htte einen viel irritierenderen, sciencefiction-artigen Effekt ergeben. Es htte
so ausgesehen, als ob die aliens oder
zumindest etwas von da drauen gerade
gelandet wre. Natrlich mag Greg Lynn
solche Vergleiche and er bezieht sich bei
vielen Gelegenheiten mit einer geradezu
perversen Freude auf B-movieblobs. Da
sie so viel Abscheu and belkeit bei ihrem
Kinopublikum auslsen knnen, scheinen
sie eine Art hhere Intelligenz zu besitzen.
Der Begriff ,blob bezeichnet ein Ding, das
weder singulr noch vielfach ist, sondern
eine Intelligenz, die sich verhlt, als ob sie
singulr and vernetzt ist, aber in ihrer Form
virtuell unendlich vervielfltigt and verbreitet
werden kann. (Greg Lynn in Folds, Bodies
and Blobs) Dies ist aber eine unglaublich
interessante Metapher fr ein Gebude,
weil auch ein Gebude niemals nur ein
Ding, sondern immer in einem dauernd
sich verndernden, komplexen Netzwerk
von Beziehungen and Erzhlungen
gefangen ist. Das ist es, was Architektur
so faszinierend macht. Dieser Prozess der
71

Amerika-Exkursion

sections

dauernden nderung endet nicht mit der


Realisierung des Gebudes, sondern setzt
sich in alle Ewigkeit fort. Denn wenn das
Gebude fertiggestellt ist, wird es von den
Leuten, die es benutzen, angeeignet. Ich
erinnere mich an einen Vortrag von Peter
Eisenman vor langer Zeit, in dem er von
einem seiner ersten Huser sprach. Als
es fertiggestellt war and die Bauherren es
zum ersten Mal besichtigten, rief die Frau:
,,Aber ich habe geglaubt, wir bekommen
ein Heidi-Haus! Sie zogen zunchst im
Keller ein, vernderten das Haus vom
ersten Tag an and bezogen es nach and
nach, bis sie das Gefhl hatten, es sei
endlich ihr Haus. Eisenman stimmte dem
zu, nachdem er bewusst einen gewissen
Widerstand in das Haus eingebaut hatte.
Auf gewisse Weise ist die Art, in der die
Bauingenieure und die Baumeister sich
mit den ursprnglichen Entwrfen fr die
Koreanische Kirche auseinandergesetzt
hatten und sie an Methoden angepasst
hatten, mit denen sie sich vertraut fhlten,
nicht so anders als Eisenmans Anekdote
- auch wenn sie sich vor der Realisierung
zugetragen hatte.
Greg Lynn hat dennoch stets einen solchen
Ansatz kritisiert, oder er hat zumindest eine
dekonstruktivistische Architektur kritisiert,
die von solchen Konflikten lebt and sie in
Form geometrischer Konflikte nutzt. Statt
dessen schlgt er eine Architektur vor,
die verformbar, flssig und geschmeidig
ist und alle diese konflikttrchtigen Krfte
in einem neuen Ganzen unterbringt and
integriert. Das Gebude wird Teil einer
greren kologie and ndert sich mit
dieser, was in der Designphase mithilfe
der neuesten Animationssoftware mglich
gemacht wird. Schlie8lich wird eine
statische Form gewhlt - statisch wie ein
Segelboot, das eine Form hat, die sich in
vielen verschiedenen Situationen bewhrt.
Es schliet alle diese Situationen mit ein,
wobei die endgltige Form zwischen ihnen
vermittelt. Im Falle des Bootes knnte

72

man es bequemer oder schneller machen,


indem man die Parameter ndert - auf
gleiche Weise knnte man das Gebude
nach den Wnschen des Bauherren
andern. Die grundlegende Frage ist jedoch,
welche
unterschiedlichen
Parameter
ausgewhlt werden, eine Rolle in der
Originalumwelt zu spielen? Wie komplex
ist diese Umwelt tatschlich? Wer whlt die
einwirkenden Krfte aus und nach welchen
Kriterien? Im Falle der Koreanischen
Presbyterianerkirche
erscheint
die
kologie des Gebudes noch relativ
einfach. Das ist nicht Auergewhnliches,
da sie eines der ersten Experimente Lynns
in diesem Arbeitsstil ist. In der ersten Phase
des Designprozesses wurde eine Software
ausgewhlt, die es zulie, verschiedene
Teile des Raumprogramms, beispielsweise
die verschiedenen Kapellen, den Altar
und den Chorbereich, in meta blobs zu
lokalisieren, die dann zusammenwuchsen.
Dann konnten ihre Gre und Beziehungen
zueinander verndert werden, whrend sie
verbunden blieben and das Gesamtdesign
kohrent blieb. Schlielich wurde das
Originalgebude in den Prozess eingefhrt
and das Modell grob daran angepasst.
Grob, weil sie immer noch als verschiedene
Einheiten auftreten. In spteren, hnlichen
Versuchen, eine neue Organisation in
einem
existierenden
Gebudeentwurf
unterzubringen, wie etwa das Design
von NOX fr das V2 Labor in Rotterdam,
erscheint die Beziehung zwischen der
neuen und der bestehenden Form flssiger
and integrierter. Jedenfalls ist es exakt diese
begrenzte ursprngliche Gebudekologie,
die Lynns realisiertes Gebude wie
eine Dekonstruktion der ursprnglichen
Diagramme erscheinen lsst. Sie sind fast
versteckt in der endgltigen Konstruktion
und
Detailausarbeitung.
In
diesem
Sinne kommt Lynn in der Koreanischen
Presbyterianerkirche nahe an die lose
geschichtete Struktur heran, die Ben van
Berkel und Caroline Bos fr Diagramme
in ihren Entwrfen als interaktive

Mrz 2003

night view

Instrumente verwenden: Eher als eine


Art Zwischenstatements im Management
des gesamten Projekts denn als etwas,
das wrtlich realisiert werden sollte. In
einem alten Text ber Ben van Berkel
habe ich davon unter Hinweis auf einen
Text ber die Arbeit des italienischen
Malers Francesco Clemente gesprochen
- den Berkel brigens stets bewundert hat
- und zwar als eine Art von Diagrammen
in Kostmen (in: A+U 342, 99:03, und:
de Architect, Mrz 1991). Der Traum des
Architekten wird im Ganzen begraben, was
allerdings interessanter ist als der Traum
alleine. Greg Lynn scheint aber ehrgeiziger
zu sein. Viel mehr als van Berkel, dessen
Arbeit innovativ, aber gleichzeitig in einer
traditionellen Praxis entsteht, die sich mit
realen Bauaufgaben auseinandersetzt,
entwickelt sich Lynns Arbeit viel mehr aus
einer Tradition der akademischen und
theoretischen Untersuchung und sollte
auch als solche beurteilt werden. In jedem
seiner Projekte whlt Lynn die Parameter
aus, mit denen er arbeiten will. Im Projekt
eines Haus-Prototyps auf Long Island
sind es beispielsweise die Topographie,
der Wind und der Lrm der nahen
Strae und im H2-Haus fr Wien (Projekt
OMV-Pavillon) sind es das Sonnenlicht
und die Autos auf der angrenzenden
Autobahn. Lynn whlt fr jedes Projekt
auch eine passende Software aus, und in
seinem Embryologischen Wohnprojekt,
nimmt er eine Herstellungsmethode als
Ausgangspunkt fr den Entwurf. Als
geradezu wissenschaftliche Experimente
in einer kontrollierten Umwelt sind diese
Projekte unglaublich wertvoll und ben
bereits ihren Einfluss auf eine grere
Gruppe von Architekten aus. Dennoch stellt
sich die Frage, ob das der einzige Grund
dafr ist, dass Lynn fr seine Projekte nur
eine ausgewhlte Anzahl an Parametern
zulsst. Es knnte nmlich auch sein,
dass seine primre Sehnsucht, Kohrenz
in seinen Entwrfen zu produzieren, die
Weise beeinflusst, in der diese Kohrenz

im realisierten Gebude hergestellt wird.


Denn die reale Gebudekologie ist
wesentlich komplexer als Lynns selektive
Auswahl bestimmter Krfte, die im Entwurf
eine Rolle spielen. In diesem Sinne knnte
Michael Speaks absolut richtig liegen,
wenn er sagt, dass Lynn, ebenso wie sein
Mentor Peter Eisenman, sich allzu sehr fr
die Metaphysik der Architektur interessiert
(Architectural Design Profile 133, 1998).
Das wrde auch die Verachtung erklren,
mit der sein Freund Sanford Kwinter von den
Datascapes, die hollndische Architekten
wie MVRDV produzieren, als Maastrichter
Bohnenzhlen spricht. Kwinter findet den
Ansatz der Hollnder viel zu pragmatisch.
Darin kann ihm Recht gegeben werden,
aber dennoch sind Datascapes exakt
jene Art
Diagramme,
welche
die
komplexen
kologien
visualisieren,
die an einem Bauplatz agieren, lngst,
bevor der Architekt ins Spiel kommt. Sie
visualisieren Regeln und Bestimmungen,
Raumprogramme, Wnsche der Bauherren
und sogar Konstruktionstechniken. Einige
davon sind formal von Lynns Projekten
nicht einmal sehr weit entfernt. Dennoch
ist ein einziger Datascape niemals genug,
einen richtigen Entwurf hervorzubringen:
Er wird erst mit den verschiedenen
involvierten Parteien ausgehandelt. In
ihren endgltigen Entwrfen versuchen
MVRDV nicht, die Konflikte zwischen den
verschiedenen Krften - die im Datascape
reprsentiert werden - zu verdecken oder
zu synthetisieren. Auerdem treten die
meisten dieser Diagramme als statische
Formen auf, mit Ausnahme der Stdte
in der Installation Metacity/Datatown
(siehe dazu: Daidalos 69/70; EI Croquis
86, IV-1997; AA News, Autumn 1997).
So gesehen arbeiten sie in der Tradition
der Dekonstruktivisten, auch wenn sie
ein breiteres typologisches Spektrum und
abstrakte Organisationsmuster anwenden.
Im Entwurfsprozess ersetzen diese
Verhandlungen fast exakt die Software,
die Lynn in der gleichen Phase einfhrt.

In diesem Sinne wre es interessant


herauszufinden, ob diese beiden Methoden
sich nicht verbinden lieen, um Projekte
hervorzubringen, die sowohl kologische
Qualitten haben als auch eine innere
Kohrenz.

73

Amerika-Exkursion

CHEMOSPHERE
Albrecht Kreuzer

architects
client
address

John Lautner
Leonard J. Malin
776 Torreyson Drive, West Hollywood, CA 90046

Das 1960 in den Hollywood Hills errichtete Malin House, oder einfach
the CHEMOSPHERE, ist vielleicht Lautners bekanntestes Gebude.

House Leonard J. Malin CHEMOSPHERE, 1960

House Leonard J. Malin CHEMOSPHERE, 1960

74

In Form einer oktogonalen fliegenden


Untertasse, aufgestndert auf einer
einzigen, hohlen Betonsule, gestaltet,
wirkt es vielleicht wie eine hemmungslosen
Hingabe an den Futurismus, erweist sich
jedoch als ausgesprochen sensible Lsung
fr eine schmale und steile Lage. Das
Einzelfundament der Sule beschrnkte
die Zerstrung des bestehenden Terrain
auf ein Minimum und vermied das
bliche Planieren des Gelndes und das
fr Gebude mit Hanglage notwendige
Errichten einer Staumauer. Der schlicht
gehaltene Innenraum des auskragenden
Wohnhauses bietet eine ununterbrochene,
kontinuierlich bergehende Wohnflche
von 120 Quadratmetern und eine herrliche
Aussicht auf das darunterliegende Tal.
Der ursprngliche Besitzer und Bauherr
Leonard Malin war Weltraumingeneur. Im
Alter von 27 Jahren gab er seinen Beruf auf,
um mit Lautner sein Traumhaus zu bauen.:
Most people work an entire lifetime to buy
the home of their dreams. I said, the heck
with that, I`ll build the home of my dreams
and pay for it the rest of my life., meinte er
dazu. Die Malins bewohnten das Haus mit
ihren vier Kindern bis 1972, und whrend
der folgenden 25 Jahre wechselte das
Haus dreimal den Besitzer. Dann erwarb
das neureiche Verlegerehepaar Angelika
und Benedikt Taschen den Grundbesitz um
beinahe 1Million Dollar. Diese haben sich
vorgenommen, das Haus zu renovieren,

und Lautners Visionen, Originaldetails, die


zur damaligen Zeit nicht zu verwirklichen
waren, beinhaltend, gerecht zu werden.
Auerdem planen die Taschens ein
Gstehaus am Fusse des Chemosphere,
das von Rem Koolhaas als Haus des 21.
Jahrhunderts in einem ebenso kraftvollen
konzeptionellen Design errichtet werden
soll.
Das Chemosphere House wurde als Set
fr den Film Body Double von Brian
de Palma verwendet. Von den anderen
Bauten Lautners ,die ebenfalls als Filmsets
dienten, ist noch besonders das Elrod
House zu nennen, in dem Szenen des
Bondfilms Diamantenfieber (1972, Lewis
Gilbert) mit Sean Connery in der Titelrolle
gedreht wurden.
John Lautner
Nach Abschluss eines Anglistikstudiums an
der Universitt von Northern Michigan war
John Lautner sechs Jahre lang Mitarbeiter
von Frank Lloyd Wright in Taliesin. 1937
leitete er den Bau zweier Projekte Wrights,
zwei Jahre spter grndete er ein eigenes
Bro in Los Angeles.
Sein erstes Soloprojekt war ein Haus
fr seine eigene Familie, das der
Architekturkritiker Henry Russel Hitchcock
als the best house by an architect under

Mrz 2003

30 in the United Sates bezeichnete.


Spter sagte derselbe: Lautner`s work
could stand comparison with that of his
master. 1970 wurde er Ehrenmitglied des
American Institute of Architects (AIA) fr
herausragende Verdienste im Design und
erhielt 1993 die Goldmedaillie des AIA fr
sein Lebenswerk.Er starb am 24. Oktober
1994 im Alter von 83 Jahren.
www.johnlautner.org
www.usc.edu/dept/architecture/shulman/architects/
lautner
www.arcspace.com/kk_ann/2001_03
www.midglen.com/newsletter/volume3.pdf http:
//aluminumfilms.com/making%20of.htm

John Lautner

Grundriss, Ansicht und Lngschnitt

75

Amerika-Exkursion

KAUFMANN DESERT HOUSE


Andreas Krainer

architects
client
address

Yet the finest and most celebrated of


Neutras houses of the 1940s were
indubitably the Kaufmann House, Palm
Springs (1946), and the Tremaine House,
Santa Barbara (1948). The first of these
clients was Edgar Kaufmann, a wealthy
Pittsburgh merchant and philanthropist,
who was already famous in architectural
circles for commissioning Frank Lloyd
Wright in 1936 to design his epochal
Fallingwater vacation house near
Pittsburgh. Kaufmanns son, Edgar, Jr.,
an architect, historian, and fond disciple of
Wright, wanted his father to engage Wright
to design the Palm Springs house, but the
senior Kaufmann wanted a greater feeling
of lightness and openness than Wright had
imparted either to Fallingwater or to his
own desert house at Taliesin West.

Kaufmann Desert House, Richad Neutra

76

For this new commission Kaufmann


eagerly turned to Neutra. A decade
after the grand Brown House, this Palm
Springs villa was Neutras first luxurious
postwar private residence. Neutra likened
the desert setting with its rocks and
mountains to the landscape of the moon
and conceived of the house as a gemlike
pavilion in a lush oasis in the midst of
a vast and relatively barren place. The
house subsequently became the chef
doeuvre in a suburban townscape, but it
was born in the middle 1940s in relative
isolation. Sited on a 200-by-300-foot lot,
with spectacular views of the mountains

Richard Neutra
Edgar Kaufmann
Palm Springs

and desert, the 3,800-square-foot house


takes the shape of a rough cross. From
the main south entrance, a covered
walk moves past garages to the entry
hall, leading east to the living and dining
rooms and a master bedroom overlooking
the pool, west to kitchen and servants
quarters, and north to an open, covered
patio with guest rooms beyond. To provide
a raised deck for viewing the desert,
Neutra baned local authorities and skirted
city ordinances against two-story dwellings
by devising an open yet covered rooftop
gloriette, reached by outside stairs. Its
sturdy fireplace, built-in banquettes, and
adjustable louvered screen wall give it
the feeling of both an open porch and a
snug, enclosed shelter. It also contributes
significantly to the handsome profile of the
overall structure.
The relative massiveness of the houses
rock and concrete walls is lightened by
the equally large expanses of glass and
by the floating quality of the silver-gray
metal trim. With its overhangs, adjustable
louvers, and radiant floor heating and
cooling systems, the house is a model of
sophisticated climate control. Rather than
building a house that appears to have
grown organically out of the desert, as
Wright had attempted to do in Arizona
at Taliesin West, Neutra designed the
Kaufinann House as a minimalist pavilion
for inhabiting and observing the desert.

Mrz 2003

Kaufmann Desert House, Richad Neutra

The house, he acknowledged, is frankly an


artifact, a construction transported in many
shop-fabricated parts over along distance.
Its lawns and shrubs are imports, just as
are its aluminum and plate glass; but plate
glass and aluminum, the water of the pool,
all reflect the dynamic changes in the moods
of the landscape. While not grown there or
rooted there, the building nevertheless
fuses with its setting, partakes in its events,
emphasizes its character. Neutra gave
Julius Shulman explicit suggestions for
photographing the house. Aided by both
the architects and the clients insights,
Shulmans own perceptions of the building
and its setting resulted in some of his most
remarkable pictures.

Grundriss

The photograph taken from the east of the


house and pool at twilight would become,
in particular, one of modern architectures
most
famous
images.
Shulmans
interpretations were widely published, and
the house was internationally acclaimed.
Richard Neutras
Windshield House
Neumann Dieterich 2001

Lageplan

77

Amerika-Exkursion

CASE STUDY HOUSE NO.8


Anna Edthofer

architects
address

The Charles and Ray Eames house was


one of a number of Case Study Houses.The
Case Study House Program was
initiated in 1945 by Arts and Architecture
magazine.The idea was to use modernist
ideals for the postwar homes and housing
of the three million returning soldiers. The
CSH Program enlisted the talents of
eight Southern Californian architects.
There was a sense that all the new
technologies and materials of the war effort
could be used to do something besides
harm people. The Eames House uses
existing industrially made componends.

Case Study House No.8, Charles and Ray Eames

Each house would be a case study of


the needs of a particular client. It would
solve the problems of the client, but in
as universal a way as possible. Each
client would be understood to represent a
different type of homeowner.
Charles and Ray Eames were the
hypothetical clients of Case Study House
No.8: a working couple with no children
living at home,so they just need space for
living and for working. (The initial design
solution, the Bridge House, was by Charles
Eames and Eero Saarinen. Never built, it
was a cantilevered structure rooted on an
east-facing hill that stuck out through a row
of Eucalyptus trees on a then-secluded site
in Santa Monica Canyon.)

78

Charles and Ray Eames


203 Chautauqua Blvd.

Because it was to be made of steel, its


construction was delayed by the postwar
materials shortage. The Eames House had
the advantage of being designed to be built
completely of prefabricated parts. As Ray
said, It was the idea of using materials
in a different way, materials that could
be bought from a catalog so that there
was a continuation of the idea of mass
production, so that people would not have
to build stick by stick, but with material that
comes ready-made, off-the-shelf in that
sense.
Above all, there was the desire to respect
the meadow. Another was the recognition
that the design had to be efficient in its use
of materials. Charles viewed it almost
as a math problem, to use Rays words.
It was like a game to him. How could
one enclose the maximum volume with
the same steel? In a sense, they were
applying to this work of architecture their
learn-by-doing process. Playing with the
elements the first time around had given
them some insights. But completing the
drawings, living with the site, seeing the
delivered materials, and spending time
with the model all these things together
primed the pump for an intense couple of
months of redesigning while under the
gun.
The final design is very simple.There are
two buildings, like two boxes. One house

Mrz 2003

Case Study House No.8, Charles and Ray Eames

is the living space, the other the work


space. A long, nearly 60 meter concrete
retaining wall runs behind the structures
so that the front of the buildings shows
two stories to the world, but the back is set
into the hill itself, insulating the buildings.
The two buildings look similar, but they are
not identical. Each is two stories high and
can be measured in bays about 2.3 meters
wide, but the module does not intrude. The
living part is closer to the ocean and made
up of eight bays (including an overhang
of the patio), and the studio is made up
of five bays. The patio between them has
the width of four bays. Each structure has
a two-story-high space on the end facing
away from the other. The house is 140
square meters, and the studio 93.
On the outside, the factory materials that
make up the buildings are shown matterof-factly, not with pride or shame. Factory
windows and X-trusses provide the texture
of the exterior. Color panels (orange, blue,
gold, and others) are arranged on the grid.
The construction of the house took only a
few months.

Case Study House No.8, Charles and Ray Eames,

R. Craig Miller gives this description of the


interior: In contrast to the starkness of
many international style interiors, Eames
interiors were increasingly filled with
distinctive arrangements of furniture, rugs,
flowers, pillows, toys, candles, shells and
other collectibles that approached a high
Victorian clutter.
It is impossible to understand the whole
presence of this house from photographs its
comfort in the landscape, the exquisiteness
of the siting, the peacefulness of the
meadow.

Case Study House No.8, Charles and Ray Eames,

Quellen: greatbuildings.com; architectureweek.com;


modern architecture since 1900, William J. R. Curtis

79

Amerika-Exkursion

CALIFORNIA STATE, POMONA


claudia cavallar

architects
address

Antoine Predock, Compiled by Brad Collins and


Juliette Robbins. Rizzoli 1994
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, California 91768

CLASSROOM, LABORATORY, ADMINISTRATION BUILDING (CLA Building)


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
1987-1992
The Cal Poly building is truly a gateway
building, visible from the freeways, the
local flight patterns, and across the entire
Pomona Valley.
The buildings silhouette delineates
the different elements of the program.
The large tower houses a mixture of
administrative, faculty, and student
functions. The open-circulation classroom/
laboratory functions are the organizational
core for the remaining elements of the
program: computer labs and classrooms.

Classroom, Laboratory, Administration Building (CLA


Building)

The sharpest angle of the triangular plan


points toward Mount Baldy in the San
Gabriel Mountains. Upper-level terraces in
the stone tower also direct views towards
the range. The prow of the tower points
in the direction of the Kellogg ranch. One
corner of the triangular plan is clipped
to nestle against a duck pond. These
geometric adjustments anchor the CLA
to the spirit of the Pomona Valley. The
building becomes an abstract geologic
form mirroring the surrounding landscapes
of basin, foothill, and mountains.
The core classroom piece unravels around
a central courtyard. In plan it begins as a
square, becomes an U, an L, and finally
an A. As it unwinds views of mount baldy
become increasingly dominant.

80

The building is very permeable. It provides


shortcuts to various parts of the campus
and the open zone under the raised
classroom block serves as a meeting
ground/gateway. From the courtyard,
elements of the buildings structure form a
gigantic aperture opening to the Pomona
Valley. It celebrates the schools connection
to agriculture focusing on the neighboring
fields framed against the tawny hills of
summer and the green hills of winter.

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: The building


was one of the locations used in the movie
Gattaca (1997). The Diamond Ranch High
School by Morphosis, also in Pomona, was
used in The Cell (2000).
www.predock.com

www.csupomona.edu

Mrz 2003

Classroom, Laboratory, Administration Building (CLA Building)

Plme
Classroom, Laboratory, Administration Building (CLA Building)

81

Amerika-Exkursion

CHIAT/DAY BUILDING
Cornelia Faisst

architects
client
address

FRANK O. GEHRY & ASSOCIATES 1985-1991


Jay Chiat
Main Street, Venice

The Chiat/Day Office Building is located


on Main Street in Venice, four blocks
from the Pacific Ocean. The area is
evolving from a funky beach town into a
more urban contemporary community.
The L-shaped site is within the California
Coastal Commisions jurisdiction and
the project went through an extensive
review process. The building reflects the
dense but low-scale development that
the Coastal Commision envisions for this
beach community.

Chiat/Day Building, Fassadenansicht, Main St.

82

The 75,000 square foot, three-story office


space was designed specifically for the
use of Chiat/Day advertising agency as
its West Coast Corporate Headquarters.
The building sits atop three levels of
underground parking for three hundred
cars. The Main Street facade is expressed
as three distinct elements which relate in
scale and level of detail to the surrounding
neighborhood. The entry to the parking
structure is through the centrally placed
binoculars, conceived and created in
collaboration with Claes Oldenburg and
Coosje van Bruggen. The binoculars
contain space for private conferencing and
research and are tied into the main client
conference room. Each cylinder is topped
by one skylight oculus.
On one side of the binoculars is a curved
screen wall which provides shade from the
western sun and is shaped to relate to the

marine imagery. On the other side of the


binoculars is a sculptural expression of
columns in an almost forest-like density.
The columns are clad in copper and also
create a sun screen. Because of the
configuration of the site, as well as the
height constraints imposed by the coastal
commission and the density required by
the client, the building sits on the property
lines on all sides. On the third level of the
south facade, a very long skylight extends
down through the building to the first floor.
Additionally, there are lightwells that bring
light down to the first and second floors
around the building. At the fork of the L is
the core of the building, adjacent to which
is a large, two-story skylighted meeting
room.
The Coastal Commisions height limit of
thirty feet meant that the building floor-tofloor heights had to be kept to ten feet. This
imposed a structural solution of flat plate
concrete framing and required a great deal
of coordination between mechanical and
electrical trades. This tight ceiling space is
mitigated by exposing the structure to the
underside of the concrete deck in many
places as well as by the placement of the
lightwells and more open vertical spaces.
Simple built-in workstations are designed
in plywood.
You cant make people work harder and
smarter, says Jay Chiat. You can give

Mrz 2003

them an environment that helps them to to building, but its stamp, along with Gehrys,
work harder and smarter.
remains indelibly on it.
The process has accelerated in recent
years. The Santa Monica headquarters
opened to much fanfare only in late 1991.
Still, says architect Susan Lanier, Chiat
wanted to bust out of prescribed notions,
the complacency in the way they were
working. He was really convinced the
system they had was archaic.

Texte:
http://www.arcspace.com/calif/build/chiat.htm
http://www.smmirror.com/volume3/issue16/chiat_day_
advertising.asp
http://web.gmu.edu/departments/safe/clips/chiat.html
Bilder:
http://www.arcspace.com/calif/build/chiat.htm
http://www.archiweb.cz/builds/admin/chiatday.htm

Lanier is partner in Lubowick/Lanier, which


has reworked the Gehry buildings interior.
Chiats new metaphor for both Santa
Monica and New York was of a college
campus, where students move from
classroom to classroom, to library and lab.
Similarly, most Chiat/Day staff arent tied
to desks. After checking out computers
and phones at the company store, they
go where the resources they need are,
whether that be a meeting room (fitted uptemporarily of course-with computer, video
equipment, tack space, and white board) or
a quiet corner equipped only with a seat.
Much more difficult, Lanier feels, was the
issue of flexibility: To allow people to move
to a zone to perform a task doesnt mean
everything has to be movable. If that was
the tack, youd end up with rather mediocre
space architecturally and otherwise. Things
get moved around and left, and its nobodys
space. There can be some smaller movable
objects, but the spatial character needs to
be maintained.
Lanier felt floating workers needed some
kind of mooring. Since people were
losing their personal space, the store and
a concierge space on the second floor are
like neighborhood landmarks, where you
know the people working there. It provides
that comfort zone of people and familiarity.
J.S.R. Architectural Record/ September
1994 Chiat-Day has long since left this

Plan Chiat/Day Building

83

Amerika-Exkursion

SCHINDLER House
Cornelia Steirer

architects
address

Rudolf Michael Schindler


835 North Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA

Rudolf Schindler 1922


Kathryn Smith, MAK Center brochure:
Rudolf M. Schindlers Studio-Residence
was the first modern house to respond
to the unique climate of California, and
as such it served as the prototype for a
distinctly Californian style of design. From
1922 until his death in 1953, the building
functioned as both his house and studio.

Rudolf Schindler

84

During this 30 year period, Schindler


designed
the
houses
and
small
commercial buildings that today are
considered landmarks of the modern
movement. In his own house, Schindler
expressed his philosophy about structure
and materials most clearly, but the entire
site demonstrates his exploration of the
relationship of space, light and form. In this,
his first independent design in the U.S.,
Schindler set forth the basic tenets of his
architectural philosophy, which he called
Space Architecture. In this masterwork
he established himself as a major figure
in the history of the modern movement.
Smith recounts how Schindler was born
in Vienna, where he studied art and
architecture and worked with Otto Wagner
and Adolf Loos. In 1914, Schindler moved
to Chicago to work with a commercial
architectural firm. After this job, he joined
Frank Lloyd Wrights studio, travelling
in Los Angeles in 1920 to supervise the
construction of the house.

Schindler began his own practice in


1921, designing the house and studio
to accommodate two couples: he and
his wife, Pauline, and Clyde and Marian
Chace. The Chaces left in 1924, but were
replaced by Richard Neutra and his family
in 1925. Collaboration with Neutra (a
former schoolmate from Vienna) produced
several modern architectural landmarks:
Schindlers Lovell Beach House at Newport
Beach, their joint competition for the
League of Nations Building, and Neutras
Lovell Health House in Los Angeles.
Each house needs to be composed as
a symphony, with variations on a few
themes.
The Schindler studio-residence was built
between Februar and June 1922 on Kings
Road in Hollywood, California. The houses
design addressed and even resolved
architectural problems involved with new
methods of construction, a low budget,
organization of living space, aesthetics,
and a new life philosophy in a revolutionary
manner. In many respects, the Schindler
house marks the beginning of modern
architecture in California.The house was
built according to the life philosophy of
Pauline Schindler and a rather optimistic
appreciation of theusually mild Southern
Californian climate.

Mrz 2003

Few materials were used: concrete, wood,


glass, and canvas. It was important to
Schindler to integrate the natural properties
of the materials into the design of the
building. Architectural functions remained
visible, and the natural colour and texture
of the materials were not covered by layers
of paint. The house was designed for 3
households consisting of 2 couples and
one bachelor without children. The floor
plan consists of three L shapes spinning
out from a central fireplace.
The building sits directly on a concrete
slab which serves as foundation and
floor, avoiding the expense of excavation.
Concrete was poured into wooden molds
to form panels that were then tilted up
to form walls. Three inch (7.5 cm) glass
strips separate the panels. A wooden
frame solidified the structure. Each adult
disposed of a private studio for work and
play. Each studio is enclosed on 3 sides by
concrete walls with one open side facing a
patio serving as a living and dining room.
The garden opening is controlled by three
translucent sliding canvas panels. The
floor level is the same as that of the patio
minimizing the transition from indoors to
outdoors.The ceilings are of wood with
skylights between different ceiling levels.
Roofed sleeping baskets were the only
living quarters above ground level.
In the hopes that shared cooking duties
would reduce their drudgery, a common
kitchen was shared by the occupants. The
buildings plans extend outside the enclosed
structure to the property boundaries. Living
areas are delimited by hedges and differing
garden levels which are no less complexly
conceived and structured than the enclosed
spaces.
Schindlers own description of the house:
Each room in the house represents a
variation on the constructive architectural
theme. This theme corresponds to the

principle requirements for protecting a


tent: a protected back, an open front, an
open fireplace and a roof. Each room has
a concrete wall at the rear and a large
front opening onto the garden with sliding
doors. The shape of the rooms and their
relationship to the patios and various
rooflevels creates a totally new spatial
concept between the interior and the
garden.
http://www.galinsky.com/buildings/hollyhock/index.htm
http://www.fosh.org/RMSchindler.html
http://www.fosh.org/index.html
http://www.fosh.org/RMSchindler.html
http://www.fosh.org/kings_road.html

Plan Schindler House

85

Amerika-Exkursion

HOPE RESIDENCE
David Baum

architects
client
address
site

several graded lots at the top of a mountain road overlooking


Palm Springs, the nearby mountains and the surrounding desert.

requirements

Frank Lloyd Wright discusses with other apprentices


while Lautner sits at the table behind.

Hope residence

John Lautner
Mr and Mrs Bob Hope 1979
Southridge Drive, Palm Springs, California

a relatively small personal residence for the Hope family on


the second floor above an expanded ground floor entertainment
complex with a restaurant-sized kitchen and luxurious guest
rooms.

The required spaces are contained in a


large basic cone using the same slope as
on the surrounding mountains in order to
blend into them. Arched openings, 100 foot
wide, open the house to the views, while
30-foot overhangs protect against the
hot sun. My original 1973 design had an
exposed concrete roof shell engineered by
Flix Candela. Later the concrete shell was
substituted with a steel construction with
wood sheathing. Following a disastrous
fire when welders sparks ignited and
burned the wood sheathing off the steel
frame, the Hopes decided to modify the
original design. The roof frame remained
structurally sound after the fire, but much
of the luxury of the original scheme was
omitted [weggelassen] as time eroded
[zerfrass] the Hopes original plans. The
court has a 60-foot diameter opening in
the center to allow the spectacular skies
at night to be seen, as well as to light the
interior during the day. The original design
had an openable skylight and an airconditioned, enclosed three to four story
entertainment space. The executed design
eliminates this closure and retains the
space as an open, sheltered terrace.
John Lautner: Architecture in its truest
sense cannot be academically defined
1911

roof construction

86

born in Marquette, Michigan

Lautner once said he had to have eight to


ten good reasons to do something.
Thus , an element in a house of his
may answer different questions, it can
have different meanings on the various
conceptual levels of the project. He creates
strong, powerful, elegant or sensuous
forms, but never for the sake of the form
alone. They are pragmatic solutions to a
projects specific problems. The forms he
creates - his architecture, that is - are highly
recognizable, and too often they are looked
at without making the effort to appreciate, or
simply without understanding, the process
of their creation. Too often his buildings
have been branded as arbitrary whims
[launisches Zufallsprodukt] It seems to
be a phenomenon of our time that form
is separated from the context from which
it originates, divorcing it from the specific
connotation it has in this context.
Lautners main concern in his work is the
space; the relation of the space to nature.
Shelter, as he puts it, is a basic human
need. He develops his buildings from the
inside out and, logically, the facade is but
a reflection of the inside. He insists that he
has never designed a facade. He searches
for a main idea that will respond to the site
conditions, to the specific requirements,
needs, likes and dislikes of his client.
Since the parameters of every project
are dissimilar, his houses are different

Mrz 2003

view from the garden

one from another. The main idea controls


the whole project: the organization of the
floorplan, the materials and, in the end,
the construction details - what Frank Lloyd
Wright would call the grammar - which are
the means to express the main idea. [...]
Lautner learnt how to build as an apprentice
at Taliesin and, during World War 2, as
a contractor. His profound knowledge of
construction makes him genuinely respect
good craftsmanship. Lautners main idea
can be compared to a theme in a piece of
music. Like a composer who knows what
any instrument can do, he knows how to
orchestrate the music he writes. In contrast,
the attention given by so many architects
to elaborate but purely decorative details
or to dazzling but meaningless forms is a
presentation of creative virtuosity, ordinary,
even vulgar. A building full of these
perfectly executed details is as interesting
as listening to a pianist who is technically
brilliant but not musically gifted. Technical
brilliance, important as a vehicle to transport
an artists vision, is on its own meaningless.
Today, such virtuosity seems to be not only
accepted but praised, in literature, in music,
in architecture. This obsession with the
purely decorative detail is, as Lautner dryly
puts it, for the birds.
Lautner came to Los Angeles to supervize
the construction of two of Frank Lloyd
Wrights houses, the Sturges House and
the Oboler House. Though he never liked
Los Angeles, a city he described as so
ugly, it made me physically sick, he stayed
and started a practice of his own. He
knew that the sheer size of the population
would make it easier for him to find people
interested in his architecture than in any
other city.
In 1941, having built his own house (the first
project after leaving Wright), the Springer
and the Bell Houses, World War 2 brought
his career to a pause. During the war years

he first worked as a superintendent with


the general contractor Paul Speer. Later, a
short association with Douglas Honnold, an
established Beverly Hills architect, followed.
Lautner worked on several residential and
commercial projects before he was able to
go back to his own practice.

view from underneath the roof

Luigi Nervi, Eduardo Torroja, Frei Otto


or Flix Candela, with whom he worked
on the original scheme for the Bop Hope
Residence.
Lautner is a free-thinker, an architect who
forms his ideas without regard to any
established authority. His philosophy is
based on simple, human principles, on
what he calls intangibles [Unfassbares/
immaterielle Werte]. His thinking certainly
reflects the years spent as an apprentice
with Frank Lloyd Wright - Henry RussellHitchcock stated that Lautners work could
stand comparison with that of his master
- but in essence it is his own philosophy as
an architect, and it is his thinking, the way
he approaches architecture, that ties the
multi-faceted body of his work together.

Most of Lautners earlier projects were done


on limited budgets. Just after the war he
designed several houses with prefabricated
steel or wood structures, not all of which
were built. In many cases the clients would
subcontract parts of the house or even
finish their houses themselves. Lautner
explored not only the economic and the
structural possibilities of prefabrication, he
used the architectural potential of these
structures positively, introducing entire
movable walls and pivoting [schwenkende]
glass walls. Lautners aim, to connect the He died 1994 in Los Angeles
interior space with the outside, making the
architecture part of the surrounding nature,
is visible in these early projects.
From the early 1960s on Lautner started
to get larger commissions, allowing him
to explore new materials and ways of
construction. The Silvertop house of 1963
marks a turning point in his career. It is
the first house in which he used concrete
for the roof structure and for the nowfamous cantileverd driveway. Concrete
is, in Lautners words, Solid, yet Free, a
material that lets him express his formal
visions, allowing the infinite variety of
the form he seeks. Form is correlated to
technology and to the material used.
It is futile [sinnlos] to compare Lautners
architecture to the work of other architects.
He eludes [meidet] categorization. He
concentrates on his own work, showing
interest in the work of only very few other
architects like Eero Saarinen, or Oscar
Niemeyer whom Lautner met on a trip
to Brazil. He is more interested in the
work of structural engineers such as Pier

excerpts taken from: John Lautner: Architect; edited


by Frank Escher; Princeton Architectural Press; (July
1998)
www links:
http://www.johnlautner.org
http://www.usc.edu/dept/architecture/shulman/
architects/lautner
http://www.csupomona.edu/~blemerton/
Palm%20Springs/Lautner.html

lower level

87

Amerika-Exkursion

ELROD RESIDENCE
Gnther Dreger

architects
address
client

John Lautner
Palm Springs, California
Arthur Elrod
Elrod opened 1954 Arthur Elrod Associates on Palm Canyon Drive,
a design studio and furniture and fabric showroom and became
the design king of the dessert.

After showing me the side, Elrod said:Give me what you think I should have on this
lot. As a very knowledgeable interor designer, Elrod was capable of designing really
good for himself, but he wanted the architecturally exceptional, recounted John
Lautner

John Lautner

To make the house part of the desert site


and of the mountain itself, the land was
cut down about 2.5m, to expose larger
rocks on the edge of the property which
were then built into the new home. (a
work from scratching with basic ideas-not
a style stuck on a rock). A curved wall
gives complete privacy from the street
and forms an entrance court with sculpture
garden. The entrance is a large pivoting,
framesless copper gate, counterbalanced
for easy operation. The bedroom and
carport wing has a roof garden blending
into the landscape.
The livingroom, a circular space with a
diameter of 18m, has a concial dome
with clerestories radiating from the center
resembles a concrete-and-glass mushroom
that hovers overhead like a spaceship. The
clerestories catch the different light of the
moving sun and solve the problem of west
sun and view (22o-degree view: segments
of the roof open to the snowcapped Mount
Jacinto, while the roof overhand blocks
the rays of the low west sun. In the roof
overhang around the entire house are
holes formed in concrete with foam
cylinders, containing low voltage lights. At
night, with the house lights dimmed, the
black slate floor in the livingroom seems
to disappear into the night, and one finds
oneself in space viewing the sparkling
lights of Palm Springs.

Elrod Residence

88

The furniture was a mix of modernist pieces


by Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Warren Platner,
Marcel Breuer, and costume designs. A
circular Edward Fields carpet of concentric
circles woven in shades of green grounded
the livingroom. A 8.5m arced sofa and
facing curved bench by Martin Brattrud
were coverd in a Jack Lenor Larsen fabric
strechts taut so that no seams showed. In
the dining area the walls and buffet were
of teak. Eight black leather and chrome
chairs surrounded the dining table, which
was 1.8m long with two sheets of black
glass with hammered and polished edges
on a glass-and-chrome base. we had belly
dancers performing on he table at one
party says E.
A mitered glass wall that wrapped inside,
around th living rooms terrace, blew
inward in a freak windstorm shortly before
the house was to be used for the 1971
James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever.
Doors flew off and the televison set ended
up in the middle of the Paul Jenkins
artwork that had been specially stretched
for the living rooms arced wall says E.We
were supposed to be having a party for a
hundred just two weeks after the storm. We
ended up edging the floor with potted plants
so that the people didnt step off the rocks
and into the pool. Lautner replaced the
interior glass wall with massive electronic
sliding doors suspended from the perimeter
of the roof. The parties continued, and in

Mrz 2003

fact became legendary. Bill Blass held a


fashion show. Playboy did a feature. Elrod
was photographed in his sunken bathtub
with bubbles. Neighbours included Steve
McQueen and William Holden. Arthur Elrod
wanted a party house, and he got one. Two
years after Elrod died the house was put
on the market. It went through varios owner
until a recent restoration by Steven Heisler
of beckson Associates in Los Angeles
returned much of ist original spirit.
Lautner John architect
1994 Princton Architectural Press, NY
ed. by Frank Escher,
ISBN-7643-5526-3
The architecture of John Lautner
1999, Thames & Hudson, London
Hess Alan, Weintraub Alan
ISBN 0-500-34175-3

Plan, Elrod Residence

89

Amerika-Exkursion

ENNIS BROWN HOUSE


Hicham Benmoussa

Ennis Brown House, westend

architects
address
client

The
Ennis-Brown
House
is
the
magnificent creation of world- famous
architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is one
of the most outstanding residential
structures existing in the United States.
The house was built for Mabel and Charles
Ennis in 1924, and after changing hands
many times, it was purchased by Augustus
O. Brown and Marcia Brown. Efforts to
restore and maintain the house throughout
the years have been very rewarding.
In Architectural Digest (October, 1979)*
Thomas Heinz states: The residence is one
of the most unusual of Wrights California
designs. In it, he combined elements
from his past work with a new vocabulary
created specifically for the sun-drenched,
slightly rugged topography of Southern
California. Aware that his client shared his
affinity for Mayan art and architecture, he
drew inspiration from that cultures highly
ornamented and organized buildings.
The Ennis-Brown House is one of the
first residences constructed from concrete
block. Wright transforms cold industrial
concrete to a warm decorative material used
as a frame for interior features like windows
and fireplaces as well as columns. His
sixteen inch modular blocks with intriguing
geometric repeats invite tactile exploration.

Ennis Brown House

90

In general, Wright s work is predominantly


horizontal: certainly the great majority of

Frank Lloyd Wright


2655 Glendower Avenue
Mabel and Charles Ennis in 1924

the prairie houses were such, and some


of the larger non-residential work, such as
Midway Gardens and Imperial Hotel bear
this distinctive characteristics. But here, in
a narrow ravine in Pasadena, is a work that
has strongly vertical elements and vertical
significance. This was the first house to be
built of the new system he had innovated
and named textile block construction.
we would take that despised outcast of the
building industry- the concrete blockfind
hitherto unsuspected soul in it- make it
live as a thing of beauty- textured like the
trees. All we would have to do would be
to educate the concrete block, refine and
knit it together with steel in the joints
the walls would thus become thin but solid
reinforced slabs and yield to any desire for
form imaginable
A large portion of the Ennis house is given
over to the massive concrete block retaining
walls that support the building on the
steeply-pitched hillside. The other concrete
block houses by Frank Lloyd Wright, built
in the same region and at about the same
time, have a scale that is more typical of
his treatment of residential architecture. He
calls it human scale, meaning to bring the
traditional unnecessary heights down to a
scale more in keeping with the occupants.
But the Ennis house is a definite break
in this rule: the rooms are high, with lofty
ceilings, which accounts for the massing

Mrz 2003

Ennis Brown House, southface

Ennis Brown House, pool

of concrete block rising above the window


lines. In plan the house is basically a two
bedroom house with guest room adjacent
to the dining room. Bedrooms for the
original owners are spaced apart from
each other, connected by a long enclosed
gallery and an open terrace. The dining
room, kitchen and guest room are set on a
raised level above the living room. This is
one of the last residences by Frank Lloyd
Wright to employ stained glass, and one of
the first residences, along with the nearby
Freeman House, to employ mitred glass
windows. The monumental nature of the
design throughout is somewhat softened
and made more human by the scale of
the concrete block, and the combination of
plain and patterned blocks.
The art glass windows and doors,
reminiscent of examples from the earlier
prairie period, here achieve greater colour
suddenly as they graduate in intensity from
darker at the top to lighter at the bottom.
The wisteria motif mosaic above the living
room fireplace is the extant example of the
only four art glass mosaics Wright ever
designed.

Ennis Brown House, loggia

In 1980, Brown donated the house to


the Trust for Preservation of Cultural
Heritage, a non-profit organization led
by professionals and individuals active in
historic preservation. In consideration of
the gift, the house was renamed the EnnisBrown House.

Ennis Brown House, fireplace

91

Amerika-Exkursion

CASE STUDY HOUSE NO.21


Iris Diederichs

Case Study House No.21, Pierre Koenig

architect
address

Case Study House No.21 verkrpert


einen Hhepunkt in der Entwicklung des
Stahlrahmenhauses. Es stellt, in Planung
und Ausfhrung, einen musterhaften
Auszug
der
architektonischen
Mglichkeiten dar, die dieses bisher als
experimentell geltende Material bietet.
Durch den sorgfltig konzipierten Einsatz
leicht
verfgbarer
Formstcke
und
Produkte aus Stahl entsteht ein vollendetes
Produkt, das mit jedem anderen Luxushaus
vergleichbar ist, ohne die hohen Kosten zu
verursachen, die in der Regel mit Qualitt
und Originalitt in Verbindung gebracht
werden. John Entenza nannte dieses
Haus: some of the cleanest and most
immaculate thinking in the development of
the small contemporary house.
Das vollstndig von Wasser umgebene
Haus stellte ein neues Konzept bei der
Verwendung von Wasser als integralem
Bestandteil der Konstruktion und der
landschaftlichen Gestaltung dar. Hier
gibt es keine Dichotomie; vielmehr
wird
ein
architektonisches
Ganzes
erzielt, denn das Wasser spiegelt die
Geradlinigkeit der Konstruktion und lsst
sie grer wirken, whrend es zugleich
die Heiterkeit und Schnheit der Anlage
verstrkt.
Die Wohnbereiche werden
durch Backsteinterrassen erschlossen, die
ber das Wasserbecken fhren. Zustzlich
wird hierdurch dem Zusammenspiel von
Wasser und Gebude eine weitere Ebene

92

Pierre Koenig
9038 Wonderland Park Ave.

und Oberflchenstruktur hinzugefgt. Das


Wasser wird, durch eine Zeituhr gesteuert,
zu bestimmten Zeiten aus dem Becken in
die Wasserrinne gepumpt und fliet von
selbst durch die Einlaufffnungen zurck.
(Anreicherung mit Sauerstoff). Das Thema
Wasser wird im zentralen Innenhof des
Hauses wieder aufgenommen. Hier spritzt
es gegen eine Mosaikwand und fliet
in ein davor liegendes bepflanztes und
reflektierendes Becken.
Ein einfacher und interessanter Grundriss
wurde dadurch erzielt, dass der Innenhof
und zwei Bder zusammen als vollstndig
von den Aussenwnden des Hauses
losgelste Einheit betrachtet werden.
Dieser zentrale Kern trennt Wohn- und
Schlafbereich. Der Innenhof mit dem
Wasserbecken fungiert als Zentrum des
Hauses; hierdurch ist es mglich, dass
an dem Punkt, der am weitesten von den
Aussenwnden entfernt ist, Licht in den
Wohnbereich und die Kche gelangen
kann. Glasschiebetren mit Stahlrahmen
verbinden den Hof mit dem Wohnbereich
und den beiden Bdern.
Mit 20cm I-Stahltrgern errichtet, die
in einem Abstand von 6,6 x 3m gesetzt
sind, hat der Wohnbereich des Hauses
eine Flche von 13,5 x 9m, wobei nur
zwei Sttzen im Innenraum stehen. Ein
offenes Stahl-Flachdach spannt sich ber
die Trger und wird maximal ausgenutzt.

Mrz 2003

Case Study House No.21, Charles and Ray Eames

Zwischen den im Abstand von 3m


gesetzten Trgern fllen auf der Baustelle
montierte Vorhangwnde die Flche. Diese
preisgnstigen Platten bestehen bei den
Fassadenflchen aus Stahl. Zwischen der
Aussenhaut und der inneren Oberflche ist
Platz fr Leitungen, Rohre und Isolierung.
Die inneren Trennwnde bestehen aus
soliden
beschichteten
Gipswnden,
die 5cm dick sind. Als Wandisolierung
dienen 2,5cm starke Glasfaserplatten.
Die stahlgerahmten Glasschiebetren
sind zwischen die im Abstand von 6,6m
stehenden Trger eingeschweit.

den Schlafzimmern oder vom Innenhof her


direkt zugnglich. Der Innenhof ist direkt mit
den Schlafzimmern und den Wohnzimmern
verbunden, die beiden Schlafzimmer
verbindet ein Korridor an der Wand zum
Vorratsraum. Eine der Glasschiebtren
verschliet in beiden Schlafzimmern diesen
Durchgang, so dass von dort aus nur eine
unterbrochene, von den Schiebetrflchen
gebildete Glasflche ins Auge fllt.

Um eine przise Fassadenabwicklung und


maximalen Sonnenschutz zu erzielen,
wurden an der Sdfassade KoolshadeSonnenblenden angebracht, die kein
Vorspringen der Fassade erfordern. Die
gleichen Schutzblenden werden auch bei
der ffnung ber dem Innenhof verwendet,
wo sie Sonnenschutz gewhrleisten
und den Eindruck von berdachung
hervorrufen.
Zum langfristigen Schutz und insbesondere
zum Schutz des dem Wasser ausgesetzten
Stahls wurde berall eine Perma-BarWaterproof Schutzschicht aufgetragen, die
dort, wo eine andere Farbe gewnscht war,
mit Vinyllack der gleichen Firma gespritzt
wurde. Indem die Grundierung als Farbe
der Leisten verwendet wurde, erbrigte sich
ein besonderer Anstrich. Die Grundfarbe im
gesamten Gebude ist mattwei, die der
Leisten mattschwarz, so dass die Kraft
des Stahls und seine Schlankheit deutlich
hervortreten.
Die Kche ist gro genug, um als Ess- und
Familienzimmer verwendet zu werden;
von hier gibt es einen direkten Zugang
zum Carport. Die Erschlieungswege
spielen im Gesamtentwurf des Projekts
eine wichtige Rolle. Den zentralen Kern
bildet eine Insel, die von berall her
erreichbar ist. Die Badezimmer sind aus

Case Study House No.21 Grungriss

93

Amerika-Exkursion

HOLLYHOCK HOUSE
Katharina Schendl

architects
client
address

Frank Lloyd Wright


Aline Barnsdall
Barnsdall Art Park, 4808 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027

History
Built between 1919 and 1921 for oil
heiress Aline Barnsdall, Hollyhock House
is Frank Lloyd Wrights first project in Los
Angeles. Its namesake is abstracted and
geometricised in much of the houses
design, including exterior walls and interior
furniture.
Hollyhock House was the centerpiece of a
mostly unrealized Wright master plan for a
theater community set on a thirty-six acre
site. Though the site is now fully hedged
by urbanization, it still affords one of the
best views in the area due to its position on
Olive Hill, a gentle slope that reaches 500
feet above sea level.

Hollyhock House

94

Wright left much of the supervision of


construction of Hollyhock House to his
son, landscape architect Lloyd Wright, and
to architect Rudolf Schindler, as Wright
himself was working on the Imperial Hotel
in Tokyo (since destroyed). In 1927, Aline
Barnsdall donated the Hollyhock House
and eleven surrounding acres to the City
of Los Angeles for use as a public art
park. It has been leased over the years to
various arts organizations, necessitating
a cycle of alteration and rehabilitation
that is culminating in the large-scale
rehabilitation starting in the fall of 1998.
(The rehabilitation is being partly funded
by the lease of the property to the Los

Angeles Mass Transit Authority for subway


construction adjacent to the park.) Today
Hollyhock House is a part of Barnsdall Art
Park, with a local art gallery, theater, and
childrens activities.
About the house
The house was designed at the end of
Wrights Prairie House era. One can see
that some elements of the prairie house
remain in the design.
The Hollyhock motif, found throughout
the house came from Barnsdalls favorite
plant. Many of the forms can be traced
to Mayan temples, and the appearance
of stone construction adds to this pattern.
Wright established an east-west axis for
view and daylight purposes.
Structure
The Barnsdall house follows Wrights
tradition of concealing the structural
system. There is an appearance of
reinforced concrete, but the bearing walls
are actually hollow, terracotta tile with the
faces scored to receive a stucco finish.
In the living room the attic area is wood
framed trusses covered with stucco. The
wood trusses rest on a concrete belt
course that rests on the tile walls.

Mrz 2003

Hollyhock House, interior

The columns with hollyhock motif capitols


were concrete and served as structural
elements. Otherwise, the concrete was
limited to ornamentation. Wright later
wrote that reinforced concrete would
have had greater structural stability, and
achieves the same effects. The walls were
a cheap substitute for proper earthquake
construction, a major concern in the
southern California area. In the courtyard
two steel I beams span a bridge across
the courtyard, the only significant use of
steel in the building. The building needs
to withstand the construction materials
dead loads but little live loading since the
structure is mostly one story. The building
should have been designed to withstand
lateral loading of earthquakes, but because
of budget concerns was not designed
effectively.

natural sunlight, reflecting it off the moats


water. Apparently, Wrights calculations in
this matter were imperfect; a heavy velvet
curtain had to be added to prevent extreme
(and extremely annoying) glare.
Landscaping

On the outside of the house, Wright


designed a circular pool that looked much
like a Greek amphitheater. This pool had
a small pipe inside that ran through the
center of the house and out the other end.
The purpose of the pipe was to supply
water to the pool in front of the fireplace
and the pond at the other side of the
house. Wright ran water from the outside
of the house, into the house, and back out
again. This is another example of Wrights
love of bringing nature into the house.
The fireplace is also fascinating because,
The approximate dimensions of the living with the immense skylight above, it brings
room area are 42 feet by 20 feet. The span light, fire, and water together into one
of the wood trusses is approximately 20 harmonious structure.
feet. The load bearing terra cotta tile walls
are approximately 9 inches to one foot
thick.

Hollyhock House, fireplace

The Fireplace
Covered by a skylight, ringed by a water
filled moat, and constructed of heavy
concrete it almost literally represents
the four elements: earth, wind, water,
and fire. Unlike the fireplaces in Wrights
midwestern homes, this one is not
.
symmetrically aligned. Perhaps Wright
realized that a fireplace is not a central
element in a Californian home. Some have
also noted that Wright may have departed
from the domesticity of a central hearth as
his own domestic life became significantly
peripheral to him. The rooms furniture
highlights the fireplace by mimicking the
angle of the moat around the fireplace. A
large couch/bench frames off the space in
front of the hearth and directs attention to
the hearth. The skylight overhead brings in

Hollyhock House, plan

95

Amerika-Exkursion

CASE STUDY HOUSE No.22


Lukas Galehr

architects
client
address

Pierre Koenig
Buck & Carlotta Stahl
1635 Woods Drive

Pierre Koenig himself, like his architecture, is inspirational.- still enquiring,


exploring and inventing, never ready to rest on his laurels... his career-to which
his wider body of work bears witness-is one of constancy and truth to principles.
Sir Norman Foster

Case Study House No.22 View of LA

Pool

96

Pierre Koenig came home from the war.


In 1946 on the Queen Mary, sleeping in a
lifeboat on deck for two weeks rather than
participate in the abysmal living conditions
provided below. Always the nonconformist,
he chose the chilling air over the warmth of
the troop ships crowded quarters. In similar
fashion, he has chosen a life path that has
provided him the bracing, sometimes arctic
atmosphere necessary to practice his art
on his own terms. Hoping for a college
education, Koenig enlisted in the United
States Armys Advanced Special Training
Program, which offered volunteers a full
four year curriculum abbreviated to two
years. He had studied engineering at the
University of Utah for only one semester
when the program was cancelled, and
the seventeen-year-old Koenig joined the
ranks of GIs, attending the basic training
program that prepared him not only for his
Army experiences, but also in many ways
for life. In Texas, he was trained to become
a flash ranging observer, a skill which he
used in frontline combat in France and
Germany so effectively that he was not
discharged from service until 1946.
Once home, Koenig renewed his efforts
to achieve a college education, attending
Pasadena City College on the GI Bill until
he could gain admission to the University
of Southern California. After a two year
waiting period, he was finally accepted
into the USC School of Architecture

whose program was just beginning to


shift emphasis from the classical Beaux
Arts style to Modernism. Koenig was in
his appropriate element. While a student
at USC, he designed and built his first
steel-framed house, using his Army
discharge pay to buy a lot in Glendale
and to finance the construction on a very
thin shoestring. This was the house that
caught the eye of John Entenza and later
motivated him to ask Koenig to join the
Case Study program. L-shaped and
spare, the futuristic wing of structural
steel that was to become CSH No.22 was
assembled on site in a single September
day in 1959. Prefabricated in the factory
to Koenigs precise specifications, the steel
sections were transported in an articulated
truck up the steep and winding roads
to the clients location. Once there, the
rectangular modules were assembled like
a gigantic erector set under the architects
exacting eye. In a daring display of
mathematical acumen, Koenig utilized only
two structural components in designing
the steel frame. Twelve-inch 1-beams
and four inch H-columns were set twenty
feet apart to create a grid of twenty-bytwenty bays, three along the short end of
the L, and four defining the north-south
axis. The underlying calculations of this
minimalist equation contain within them a
mysterious symmetry: I-beam + H-column
= Elegance. Welded to the foundation and
the reinforced concrete caissons that went

Mrz 2003

Case Study House#22

deep into the granite below, the skeletal


frame of the house cantilevered out ten feet
into open space at the southeast corner of
the property. The steel sculpture, visible
from Sunset Boulevard I25 feet below,
seemed to be dangling in thin air, yet Los
Angeles most representational image had
literally been set in stone. Nine months
later in June of 196o, Arts and architecture
magazine published an eight-page layout
of the completed CSH No.22, featuring
extraordinary photographs by Julius
Schulman and explanatory text by Pierre
Koenig.

is at the far end of the living area, separated


by a low wall of kitchen cabinets containing
two stainless steel sinks. The range top,
two ovens, refrigerator, and washer and
dryer are all electric. All of the rooms open
onto the swimming pool and recreational
areas, creating a fusion between inside
and outside that reflects Koenigs lifelong
commitment to environmentally-oriented
architecture. Director of the Natural Forces
Laboratory at the University of Southern
California where he was recently made a
Distinguished Professor, Koenig advises
his students to build in tune with nature,
using to full advantage passive ventilation
(or heating and cooling) systems that are
ultimately more reliable than mechanical
systems. Because each job site has its
own micro-climate, he recommends careful
study of all of its aspects before beginning
the design process, the same procedure
he followed with CSH No.22. Utilizing the
benign aspects of the Southern California
climate, he calculated the heat of the sun
in different seasons and the flow of the
sites prevailing breezes to determine the
environmental plan. The solar panels that
provide radiant heating for the swimming
pool are an example of his early awareness.
Because the panels were not commercially
available in 1959, Koenig had them built
on the site, fabricating wood-frame boxes
that held coiled water pipes covered with
fiberglass panels. He also used radiant
heating for the house itself, installing the
system of gas-heated coils on the ground
before the slab was poured. Because of his
environmentally sound design principles,
none of Koenigs Southern California
houses require air-conditioning, and CSH
No.22 was no exception. The Stahls have
learned to operate their open able walls of
glass like flaps on a flying wing, expertly
capturing the wind whenever they need it.

The architect describes it as a pavilion-type


house in an ideal setting and walks the
reader through his construction explaining
the details along the way. A skin of
uninterrupted glass set into sliding-door
frames wraps the house in transparency,
unbroken except for a solid curtain wall of
short span steel decking to provide privacy
at the street entrance. Soaring over the
house is the spectacular long span roof
decking that cantilevers eight feet out over
the inner courtyard providing shade for
the houses interiors and shelter for the
recreational pool area. The house and
the swimming pool are integral to each
other and are bound together by a series
of concrete terraces and walks. The house
interior is divided into the living area and
the sleeping area along the lines of the
L and at its juncture is the guest bath,
master bath, service porch and walk-in
dressing room. Adjoining this in the short
wing is the master bedroom suite, and the
childrens two bedrooms, each with private
bath and divided by a folding partition. The
long wing of the house is 70 feet of space
surrounded by glass, and at the center
of the living room, a raised stone hearth
supports a free-standing fireplace that is
framed with 4-inch steel angles and open
on all sides. The steel-framed furniture Buck and Charlotta Stahl have lived in
lends another architectural component to their famous house, one of the most
the atmosphere of the house. The kitchen photographed in the world, for close to four

decades; its fortieth birthday takes place


during the year 2ooo. There, they have
raised their family and when the children
grew up and moved away, the Stahls built
themselves a new and interesting life in the
film industry. Over the years, CSH No.22
has gained status as a favored location for
numerous movies, television and print ads,
appearing ubiquitously in the background
of films with a Los Angeles setting such
as The Marrying Kind with Alec Baldwin,
Playing By Heart with Sean Connery, and
Robert De Niros Heat. The Stahls can
watch the production process unfolding
their living room, or they have the option to
move, all expenses paid, to a nearby luxury
hotel if the filming becomes too lengthy. As
a result, their home has become a source
of ongoing entertainment while providing
them with a considerable annual income.
In 1989, the Los Angeles Museum of
Contemporary Art (MOCA) used the Frank
Gehry-designed Temporary Contemporary
facility for an exhibition titled Blueprints For
Modern Living. An in depth examination
of the Case Study program, the highly
successful presentation curated by
Elizabeth Smith with installation by Craig
Hodgetts and Ming Fung, featured a fullscale three-dimensional replica of Koenigs
CSH No.22. The program was open to
the public for five months during which
thousands of visitors had the opportunity
to walk through the authentically furnished
model and experience it firsthand.
Both of Pierre Koenigs Case Study
Houses, No.21 and No.22, were approved
for Historical Cultural Monument status by
the Los Angeles Conservancy and were
designated in November 1999. Koenig
himself was awarded the American Institute
of Architects/Los Angeles Gold Medal in
October, 1999.
Iconic LA, Gloria Koenig

97

Amerika-Exkursion

LOVELL HOUSE
Maja Ozvaldic

Lovell House

architects
aclient
address

Neutra besuchte von 1911 bis 1917 die


Technische Hochschule in Wien und
daneben die Bauschule von Adolf Loos.
1923 ging Neutra in die USA, wo er zuerst
bei William Holabird und Martin Roche in
Chicago, spter bei Frank Lloyd Wright
in Taliesin ttig war. In Los Angeles
arbeitete er mit Rudolf Schindler unter
anderem am Wettbewerbsprojekt des
Genfer Vlkerbundpalastes (1927). 1926
erffnete er ein eigenes Bro und begann
mit dem Jardinette-Apartmenthaus in Los
Angeles (1926/27), einem Stahlbetonbau
mit Fensterbndern.
Die Idee fr das Haus war:
Design a house that will enhance by its
design the HEALTH of the inhabitants of
this house! How can we design a residence
that would enhance the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants?
In response, my dad provided outdoor
sleeping porches, an exercise yard and
equipment, a swimming pool on this
impossible site, basketball and handball
court, etc., along with an emphasis on
great amounts of glass to place inhabitants
close to nature. The kitchen was outfitted
with special water purification equipment,
and vegetable and fruit juicing facilities.
His experience in working on steel-framed

98

Richard Neutra
Philip Lovell
4616 Dundee Drive lovell

buildings in Chicago and the research he


did in writing his first book, found out about
a new form of depositing concrete through
the use of hoses;
The Lovell house... had in Los Angeles
in 1929 an importance comparable to the
early iron or steel and glass exhibition
buildings in Europe, and indeed it was
through this house that Los Angeles
archtiecture first became widely known in
Europe.
Basis diese Hauses an einem steilen
Hang des Canyons von Los Feliz ist ein
lichtes Gefge aus Stahlprofilen auf einem
auskragenden
Stahlbetonfundament.
Die Balkone sind vom Dachrahmen
abgehngt, die Flchen mit Beton und
Glas ausgefacht.
The open-web skeleton, in which standard
triple steel casements were integrated,
was fabricated in sections and transported
by truck to the steep hillside site, and the
lightweight bar joists of floors and ceilings
were electrically welded in the shop. The
shop work was held to a decimal tolerance
to avoid the costliness of changes during
assembly on the site, and as a result the
skeleton was erected in forty hourstoo
fast to photograph the various stages of
construction.

Mrz 2003

The balconies, usually called cantilevered,


are instead suspended by slender steel
cables from the roof frame. This use
of members in suspension, and also
the U-shaped reinforced thin concrete
cradle in which the pool was suspended,
created a stir in architectural circles.
The walls of the house are of thin concrete,
shop from two-hundred-foot-long hoses,
against expanded metal, which was backed
by insulation panels as forms...

quarters on the next level down; with the


pool and equipment areas below. Off to
the side and down the hill a bit are the
garages and extra rooms; quite a carry for
the groceries!

Lovell House

http://www.neutra.org/tours.html#lovell
ArchInform
Ester McCoy
Dion Neutra
William Marlin

These revolutionary methods were widely


publicized and added to the almost surreal
quality of this building, which evoked
images of a spaceship from another planet
that had landed on the hillside of Griffith
Park The layout of the Health House has
the bedrooms and study on the entrance
level; the living room, kitchen, and maids

Lovell House, Plan

99

Amerika-Exkursion

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center


Mariela Spacek

architects
address

Frederick Fisher
22-25 Jackson Aveat the intersection of 46th Ave in
Long Island City, 11101

Im Labyrinth der digitalen Knste.


Im New Yorker Multimediamuseum
P.S.1
ist
Videokunst
einer
der
Programmschwerpunkte.
Das
liebste
Abspielmedium fr die Installationen
der Knstler ist das Fernsehen: Auf den
Bildschirmen tummeln sich Skurrilitten
wie ein lebendes Logo, eine in der Hlle
schmorende Performance-Knstlerin und
Tom Cruise, der immer wieder dem Lockruf
des Sofas folgt. Hello, my name is Annlee,
sagt das Mdchen mit den seelenlosen
Augen. Sie hat lange dunkle Haare, Haut
wie Porzellan, eine Stupsnase. Annlee war
einmal das Geschpf eines Herstellers fr
Comicfiguren in Japan. Nun gehrt sie den
franzsischen Knstlern Philippe Parreno
und Pierre Huyghe. Sie kauften das virtuelle
Wesen und retteten es vor dem CopyrightTod. Die Kreativen gaben ihr einen neuen
Charakter und eine neue Stimme. Nun
verhlt sie sich wie ein lebendes Logo,
sagt Philippe Parreno. berlebensgro
projiziert er das Gesicht des Mdchens
an die Wand. Dort darf sie ihre Existenz
verteidigen. Allerdings nur noch bis Mai.
Dann spielen die beiden Franzosen Gott
und lassen Annlee endgltig sterben.
Ist auch nicht schade drum. Figuren wie
sie produziert die Entertainmentindustrie
schlielich jeden Tag aufs Neue. So ist
sie, die Unterhaltungsbranche: malos,
dekadent, hinterhltig - und inspirierend.
Das sehen nicht nur die beiden Franzosen
so. Kritische Auseinandersetzungen mit
100

der multimedialen Welt finden sich berall


im P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center an der
Jackson Avenue von Long Island City.
Aber auch humorvolle, interaktive Werke
internationaler Knstler. Video- und
Multimediakunst machen inzwischen den
Schwerpunkt der meisten Ausstellungen
aus, sagt Museumssprecherin Carolyn
Bane. Die meisten dieser Produktionen
kreisen thematisch um die Macht der
Bilder.
Das liebste Abspielmedium vieler Knstler
im P.S.1 ist dabei das Fernsehgert.
Tolle Sachen im Vorhof zur Hlle Die
Flut der Bilder prgt und verndert unser
Bewusstsein,
diagnostizieren
einige
Medienkritiker. Das P.S.1 hat sich diesem
Themengebiet angenommen wie kaum
ein anderes Ausstellungshaus in der
Welt. Doch nicht nur thematisch ist das
P.S.1 ein Museum der anderen Art, auch
die Architektur-Historie des Gebudes ist
ungewhnlich: Vor 40 Jahren sprangen,
sangen und tollten Kinder durch die
Flure, Gnge und Hallen der ehemaligen
Grundschule. Daran erinnert noch heute
der Name des Hauses: P.S.1 steht
fr Primary School One. Spter baute
Frederick Fisher, ein frherer Mitarbeiter
des Stararchitekten Frank Gehry, die
Schule nach den Vorstellungen der
heutigen Direktorin Alanna Heiss zu
einem Kunsthaus um. Das Projekt kostete
8,5 Millionen Dollar. Museumsmauern,

Mrz 2003

befand Heiss damals, seien nicht zwingend


notwendig, um Ausstellungen zu zeigen.
Sie hindern die Menschen am sinnlichen
Erleben, weil sie keinen Raum fr die
eigene Bewusstseinswelt lassen, sagt sie.
1971 zeigte die Museumschefin Werke von
befreundeten Knstlern unter einem der
Sockel der Brooklyn Bridge.
Die Idee zum P.S.1 war geboren: Das
Museum stellt heute nicht nur in den
ausgewiesenen
Galerierumen
aus,
sondern im coolen Betongarten, oder auf
dem Dach mit Blick auf Midtown Manhattan.
Manchmal lauern die Werke sogar dort,
wo man sie am wenigsten vermutet.
Hartnckige Besucher, die keinen Winkel
des Hauses auslassen, finden sie versteckt
in der Toilette, im Lift, im Kellergewlbe,
auf dem Dach - oder im Holzfuboden: Wer
durch das dafr bestimmte kleine Loch im
Parkett schaut, kann zurzeit beispielsweise
der Schweizer Knstlerin Pipilotti Rist dabei
zusehen, wie sie in der Hlle schmort.
Auf Wiedersehen Auenwelt, hallo Kunst!
Die von den Kritikern gefeierte Ausstellung
mit dem programmatischen Titel Loop
wird von dem deutschen Kurator Klaus
Biesenbach betreut. Er ist gleichzeitig
Leiter der Kunst-Werke Berlin. Drei Jahre
bentigte er, um die Multimediashow
zusammenzustellen. Doch das P.S.1
ist nicht nur ein Abenteuerspielplatz fr
Videoknstler. Die 37-jhrige Berlinerin
Birgit Brenner etwa erhielt neben 13
anderen Knstlern aus allen Teilen der
Welt ein Stipendium, um fr ein Jahr in
einem der Museumsstudios arbeiten zu
knnen. Angst vor Gesichtsrte heit ihr
analoges Kunstprojekt. Es handelt von
einer fiktiven, von Neurosen geplagten
Frau, sagt Brenner. Ein Woody-AllenCharakter, den sie bereits vom Therapeuten
analysieren lie und fr den sie nun eine
Vergangenheit entwirft. Die Eckdaten will
sie mit Tausenden von Ngeln und roten
Wollfden an die Wand schreiben. Dieses

Frhjahr haben Brenner und die anderen


Stipendiaten zum ersten Mal ihre Studios
geffnet,um ihre Arbeiten der ffentlichkeit
zu prsentieren. Ihr Kollege Isozaki
Michiyoshi muss fr die Prsentation seiner
Kunst keine Studiotr aufschlieen. Der
aus Japan stammende Knstler hat den
wahnwitzigen Plan, eine Skulptur zwischen
zwei
Wolkenkratzern
in
Manhattan
aufzuhngen. Die Verhandlungen mit
Sponsoren laufen, kommentiert der Mann
mit den hoch strebenden Ambitionen den
Stand der Dinge. Aus dem Schlund der
Figur sollen unzhlige bunte Fallschirme
fliegen, jeder einzelne versehen mit einem
Wunschzettel. Auch dieses P.S.1-Event
wird die New York Times sicherlich in ihrem
Kulturteil bercksichtigen, wie so viele
zuvor. Erst krzlich verglich sie eine der
Ausstellungen mit einem Buffet aus vielen
kleinen Snacks, einer Schachtel voller
Sigkeiten.

Das P.S.1 sei eine Bienenwabe, deren


Zellen die Besucher zum Hineinkriechen
einladen. Mit Kopfhrern bewaffnet,
melden sie sich von der Auenwelt ab,
um sich analoge Kunst und knstlerische
Videos anzusehen. Wem nach den vielen
bewegten Bildern der Kopf schwirrt, der
begibt sich ins oberste Stockwerk des
Museums. Dort knnen sich die Besucher
auf eine Holzbahre legen. Das Haupt
voran werden sie ein kleines Stck aus
dem Fenster geschoben - um New York,
die Welt, einmal aus einer ganz anderen
Perspektive zu betrachten.

P.S.1, plan

101

Amerika-Exkursion

MoMAQNS
Mariela Spacek

The Museum of Modern Art, Queens


architects
address

Michael Maltzahn
45-20 33 Street at Queens Boulvard, Long Island
City, Queens

MoMAQNS The Museum of Modern Art,


Queens
Bewegung in der Museumslandschaft
Das MoMA zieht nach Queens. Der Auszug
aus Manhattan war seit Jahren geplant und
ist keineswegs eine Auswirkung des 11.
September: Das Museum of Modern Art
verlegt im Sommer 2002 fr voraussichtlich
drei Jahre seinen Standort von der 53th
Street in Midtown nach Queens. Der
Umzug ist notwendig, weil das Mutterhaus
nach den Plnen des Architekten Yoshio
Taniguchi teilweise neu gebaut und von
Grund auf renoviert wird.
Als Ausweichquartier wird eine nach
Plnen des Architekten Michael Maltzahn
umgebaute Fabrikhalle an der 33rd Street
in Long Island City dienen. Die ehemalige
Produktionssttte fr Swingline-Hefter
wird Ausstellungflche, eine Bcherei,
Arbeitszimmer und Lagerrume bieten.
Im ersten Jahr von MoMA QNS, wie das
Provisorium offiziell heit, sollen nach
Angaben von Museumsdirektor Glenn
Lowry unter anderem Ausstellungen
zu den Themen Zeit und Autos sowie
Matisse Picasso und Ansel Adams at
100 zu sehen sein.
In Long Island City trifft das MoMA
QNS auf eine kleine, aber sehr vitale
102

Kulturszene, die im Wachstum begriffen


ist. Bereits fest etabliert ist der nur einen
Katzensprung entfernte MoMA-Ableger
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. Das
Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, der
Socrates Sculpture Park und das American
Museum of the Moving Image liegen im
gleichen Stadtteil. Bereits jetzt knnen
die Kultureinrichtungen am Wochenende
durch einen kostenlosen Shuttle-Bus
stndlich von Manhattan aus erreicht
werden. MoMA QNS wird ebenfalls an den
Service des so genannten Queens Airlink
angeschlossen werden.
berdimensionale Buchstaben auf dem
Dach
Architekt
Maltzahn
hat
seine
Umgestaltungsplne
fr
das
alte
Fabrikgebude aber eigentlich von einem
Verkehrsmittel her gedacht: der U-Bahn.
Die Linie 7 fhrt auf ihrem Weg vom Times
Square nach Flushing in diesem Teil von
Queens oberirdisch. Knftige Besucher
knnen schon von Ferne aus dem UBahn-Fenster
die
berdimensionalen
Buchstaben M-o-M-A auf dem Dach
des Gebudes sehen, die langsam zum
Museumsnamen
zusammenwachsen,
whrend sich die Bahn der Haltestelle
33rd Street nhert. Durch einen lichten
Eingang betreten die Besucher dann eine
Fabrikhalle, deren verschiedene Ebenen
durch Rampen verbunden sind.

Mrz 2003

MoMAQNS

Im Jahr 2005 wird das Museum nach der


bisherigen Planung sein Provisorium in
Queens wieder verlassen und in die neuen
und verbesserten Rume nach Manhattan
ziehen. Fr Umzug und Umbauten hat
das Museum laut Direktor Lowry bisher
507 Millionen Dollar an Spendengeldern
gesammelt.

MoMAQNS

103

Amerika-Exkursion

FREY HOUSE I
Marlene Pollhammer

Frey House I

Frey House I

104

architects
address

Albert Frey
1150 Paseo El Mirador, PAlm Springs, Californien

In den vierziger Jahren konzentrierte


sich Albert Freys Arbeit auf die Probleme
Sonne, Temperatur und Wind. Mit
der Verwendung von Material, das in
funktionaler und sthetischer Hinsicht
den Gegebenheiten der Wste entspricht,
schuf Frey eine moderne Architektur,
die Le Corbusiers Vokabular aufnimmt
und an die Wstenlandschaft adaptiert.
Aus diesem Grund unterschieden sich
Freys Arbeiten fr die Ostkste radikal
von seinen kalifornischen Bauten: sie
entwickelten sich vom puristischen Bild
eines abstrakten, vom Boden gelsten
Raums
zu
einfachen
rechteckigen
Kompositionen aus horizontalen Ebenen,
die in die Landschaft vorstoen. Mitbedingt
durch die damals bereits verfgbaren
industriellen Baustoffe, begann sich auch
die Maschinenmethaper auszuprgen.
Das Haus Frey I, der aus der
Vorkriegsperiode stammende Wohnsitz
des Architekten, demonstrierte zum
ersten Mal dessen neues Interesse an
horizontal verlaufenden Wandebenen,
die in die Landschaft hineinragen, eine
Idee, die er in seinen Einfamilienhusern
der
Nachkriegsjahre
weiterverfolgte.
Die Wnde des Hauses sind eine Reihe
von Ebenen im Bann einer groen
quadratischen Dachebene, welche die
Horizontalbewegung der Wnde in die
Landschaft verstrkt und daneben als
berhang und Schattenspender fungiert.

Im Grundriss ist das Haus ein Rechteck von


5x7 Metern. Die Holzrahmenkonstruktion
ist mit 1x2,5 Meter groen Betontafeln
ausgefacht. Die ins Freie vorstoenden
Wnde trennen die verschiedenen
Aktivittsbereiche im Auenraum und sind
in ihrer Funktion nicht weniger wichtig als die
Innenwnde. Die Auenhlle des Hauses
ist Wellblech, das auf den tragenden
Umgrenzungswnden vertikal, auf den ins
Freie ragenden Wandflchen horizontal
aufliegt.
Als
Innenwandverkleidung
wurden
aufgeschraubte
farbige
Asbestzementplatten
verwendet.
Die
Beleuchtungskrper sind, der konzisen
Gestaltung entsprechend, in die Wnde
versenkt und mit Lftungsgitter bedeckt.
Die Sitzpltze um den Pool sind in
den Beton eingelassen. Sie fixieren
damit die durch jeden Platz begrenzte
Aussicht und machen sie zu einem Teil
der Gartenlandschaft. Der Idee, die
Wandflchen ins Freie vorstoen zu
lassen, ging Frey auch im Haus Hatton und
dem anstoenden Gstehaus nach.
Albert Frey benutzte das Haus Frey I als
Labor, um neue Ideen und Bauelemente
zu erproben. 1948 ergnzte er es um
einen Wohnraum mit Innen-Auen-Pool,
wie er bereits im Haus Loewy Verwendung
gefunden hatte. Seine Erweiterungen und
Vernderungen von 1953 verwandelten
ein puristisches Gebilde im Geist Mies
van der Rohes in ein expressionistisches,

Mrz 2003

FREY HOUSE I 1940


Das Belagmaterial der Auenwnde ist Wellblech. Das Wellblech der Deckenebene ist
hellblau gestrichen. Die Asbestzementplatten sind grn oder rosa, alle Fensterrahmen
blassgelb. Die Dachrandeinfassung ist wei gestrichen.
oder, wie David Gebhard es nannte,
Freys Flash Gordon-Haus. Das im
ersten Stock ergnzte Schlafzimmer
hat einen runden Grundriss und runde
Fenster, die verschiedene Ansichten der
Gebirgs- und Wstenlandschaft rahmen.
Fr die Fenster entwarf Frey dem Winkel
des
Sonnenstandes
entsprechende,
individuell gestaltete Sonnenblendrahmen
aus Blech. Sie umhllen die Fenster und
vermitteln, von innen betrachtet, den
Eindruck, man blickte durch ein Teleskop.
Die runden Flgelfenster drehen sich
um die Vertikalachse und werden durch
einen halbkreisfrmigen Horizontalstab
arretiert. Fr die Auenhlle des runden
Aufbaus wurde versteiftes Aluminium
mit einem Rautenmuster verwendet, fr
die Innenwnde eine durchgeheftete

Verkleidung aus gelbem Vinyl, ber die


stahlblaue Vinylvorhnge fallen- alles in
allem eine futuristische Atmosphre.
Weitere
interessante
Details
der
Innenausstattung sind eine Hngetreppe
zum Schlafzimmer und ein runder
Hngetisch im Esszimmer, beide mit
Aluminiumstben von 6 mm Durchmesser
an der Decke befestigt. Um das Gartenstck
mit Pool fhrt eine gekrmmte Schutzwand
aus gewelltem Faserglas und Blech.
Rundfenster und Hngetreppe verwendete
Frey spter in seinem Jachtklub North
Shore (1958/59) und in den Premire
Apartments (1957/58).
Albert Frey, Architekt Joseph Rosa

FREY HOUSE I mit Erweiterungen 1947/1953


Primrfarben sollen die spter angefgten Erweiterungen vom Rechteck des
ursprnglichen Hauses abheben. Das Schlafzimmer hatte eine durch geheftete gelbe
Textilverkleidung und stahlblaue Vorhnge. Aluminiumbeschichtete Vorhnge schtzen
den nach Westen ausgerichteten Innen-Aussen-Pool vor der Sonne. Die Einfassung
des Pools ( auf der Sdseite des Hauses) ist aus Wellblech, abwechselnd mit roten und
grnen Fiberglassplatten.

105

Amerika-Exkursion

DESERT HOT SPRINGS MOTEL


Matthus Wasshuber

Desert Hot Springs Motel

106

architects
address

John Lautner, 1974


67710 San Antonio, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

Das Desert Hot Springs Motel befindet sich


in der nahen Umgebung von Palm Springs,
versteckt in der Wste und abgeschnitten
vom Glamour und Sonstigem, was sich
mit dem Namen Palm Springs verbinden
lsst. Der Auftraggeber war damals Lucien
Hubbard, Produzent und Drehbuchautor
aus Hollywood, bekannt geworden durch
verschiedene Stummfilme. Das Motel
sollte sozusagen als Zufluchts- oder
Erholungsort diversen Schauspieler und
sonstigen der Branche dienen. Das Motel
1947 gebaut, zehn Jahre nach seiner
Zusammenarbeit mit Frank Lloyd Wright in
Arizona, ist klar geprgt durch Grundstze
seines Meisters und moderne Tendenzen:
Taliesin Fellows: the continuation of the
architectural practice of Frank Lloyd Wright
founded in 1893.

wichtigste Material wurde, da es Vielfalt


an Formen zulsst, zustzlich kombiniert
Lautner Stahl, Glas und Redwood. Die
Anlage setzt sich aus vier miteinander
verzahnten, eigenstndigen
Einheiten
zusammen. Die Apartments haben gleiche
Grundrisse, die klar nach Funktionen
getrennt sind und den Ansprchen des
Nutzers optimal entsprechen sollen.
Jedes der vier Apartments ist ausgestattet
mit einer voll funktionstchtigen Kche,
Sitzecke, eigener Terrasse und einem
anschlieenden Kaktusgarten. Die Rume
zeichnen sich durch eine gekonnte
Lichtfhrung, kleine Lichtschlitze (dramatic
play of light throughout the day and the
night) und kommunizierenden Innen und
Auenflchen ab. Die Einrichtung ist auf
damalige Ideale abgestimmt.

Descrition of the motel The whole forms


a protective line of defense in this harsh,
windy environment, characterized by its
low lying silhouette, where the broken
shapes of the steels of the roof structure
repeat the rhythm of the fissured mountain
crags beyond.

Steven Lowe bernahm 2000 die Anlage,


renovierte sie und nahm den Betrieb
wieder auf. Seither wird das versteckte
Hotel in zahlreichen Travel- Zeitschriften
als Geheimtipp angepriesen. Es bietet die
Mglichkeit in authentischer 50er Jahre
Atmosphre (klassische Einrichtung, 1937
western electric telephone, queen bed...)
eine ruhige Wstennacht zu verbringen.
Persnliche Gegenstnde des Architekten
und seines bekannten Auftraggebers
sollen die Einzigartigkeit zustzlich
unterstreichen.

Bei seinem Entwurf versuchte er das


Gebude gut in die anschlieende
Wstenlandschaft zu integrieren und ihre
strenge Formensprache aufzunehmen. Das
Dach wiederholt den Rhythmus der Berge
dahinter. In diesem Projekt verwendete er
das erste Mal Beton, was spter fr ihn das

Mrz 2003

Desert Hot Springs Motel

The most fascinating of all the mid- century


motels in this area, important example of
desert modernism, the opportunity to visit
and live in a Lautner environment is a very
special experience
The motel offers an opportunity for
persons to spend time in a Lautner
building that reflects in small and gem-like
scale the architects approach to all of his
work: a blending of indoors and outdoors,
protection from the elements without
sacrifice of light and air, an understanding
of real human needs.
Architekt: John Lautner, geboren 1911
in Marquette, Michigan, nach der
Graduierung in Englisch von der University
of Northern Michigan, wurde er ein Schler
von Frank Lloyd Wright. 1937 hatte er die
Aufsicht ber zwei Wright Projekte, 2 jahre
spter erffnete er sein eigenes Bro in Los
Angeles. Seine Gebude dienten als Set
in zahlreichen Hollywwod Filmen: lethal
weapon, less than zero, James Bond...

http://blog.neoteny.com/takemura/archives/001262.html
http://www.johnlautner.org/index.html
http://www.usc.edu/dept/architecture/shulman/
architects/lautner

Desert Hot Springs Motel, plan

107

Amerika-Exkursion

LA MINIATURA
Michaela Koller

architects
address
client

G.M. Milliard House La Miniatura


Das Haus, das Frank Lloyd Wright fr Frau
M.Milliard im Jahre 1923 in Pasadena
errichtete, ist sein erstes Gebude, an
dem die Beton-Block-Technik Verwendung
fand! Die vorfabrizierten, standaridtisierten
Betonblcke sind ohne Mrtel, jedoch
mit horizontal-, sowie vertikallaufenden
Stahlseilen verbunden. Dieses Verweben
der einzelnen Blcke nannte der Architekt
textile construction. Eine Japanreise
galt als Inspiration fr die Fassade. Die
Oberflchenstruktur verglich F.L.W mit der
der Bume, die auf dem Grundstck sind.

La Miniatura, one of Wrights textile block houses

La Miniatura hat drei Geschosse. ber


den Eingang im mittleren Geschoss
gelangt man in das zwei Geschosse
hohe Wohnzimmer. Den Vergleich mit
Le Corbusier, der zu jener Zeit auch mit
zweigeschossigen Rumen arbeitete,
dementierte F.L.W wehement!
Trotz den klar ersichtlichen europischen
Einflssen hat das Milliard-Haus einen
sehr starken Bezug zum Boden, was durch
die Landschaftsarchitektur, entworfen von
Franks Sohn Lloyd Wright, verstrkt wird!
Um die Rume besser temperieren zu
knnen, sprich damit sie im Sommer khler
bleiben und im Winter die Wrme halten,
sind die Aussenmauern doppelt.

108

Frank L. Wright, 1923


LA, 645 Prosoect Crescent
G.M. Milliard

Die Bauherrin wnschte sich eine


grosszgige Aufteilung der Rume:
ein
gerumiges
Wohnzimmer
mit
einer Feuerstelle, drei Badezimmer,
Gstezimmer, Angestelltenrumlichkeiten,
Balkon und eine Garage. Alles sollte sehr
herrschaftlich sein, angefangen von der
Grsse und Anzahl der Rume bis zur
Auswahl der Materialien.

Bibliographie
Frank Lloyd Wright, Monograph IV,
1914-1923, a.d.aedia Tokyo, p.210-216
A Concire History of American Architecture,
Leland M.Roth, Icon Editions, p.254-255

Mrz 2003

G.M. Milliard House La Miniatura

main floor, G.M. Milliard House La Miniatura

109

Amerika-Exkursion

CULVER CITY
Johannes Mcke

architects

Going to see the box


by Herbert Muschamp

Culver City

Conference Room
Culver City

110

Today, when the issue of survival comes


up in architecture, the subject is usually
sustainable design: a framework for
restraining buildings.and their inhabitants
from further degrading the physical
environment. But survival should be staked
to the mental as well as the material life
of buildings. Life depends on designs,
that reflect or reform relationships in
consciousness. The mind needs a body
to dwell in but it also requires life supports
of is own. Without them the body may well
lapse into a coma.
In Culver City, a group of industrial
buildings has survived, because Eric
Owen Moss has reviewed their inner life.
Retooling their workings, he has enabled
these aging structures to attract a new
kind of tenant, filling the void left by the
erosion of the manufacturing base that
initially brought them into being. These
projects could only have occurred at the
dawn of genetic engineering. They are
mutated buildings from a mutated city. We
can talk about them as works of art, but
they are also strategies for survival. For
me, they illustrate how art can reinforce
endurance in environments, where change
is a reliable caonstant.

Eric Owen Moss

I had a date with Eric Owen Moss in


January 1994 the morning the big
earthquake struck Los Angeles. Thrown
out of bed at 4:30 in the morning, I stood
on the sidewalk outside my hotel, watching
dawn come up in a city of shock. Moss was
supposed to pick me up at nine, and on my
relief, he pulled up right on time. I shouldnt
have been surprised, because the episode
was not unlike Mosss architecture. Walls
fly away, ceilings dissappear stairs perform
daredevil leaps across heart stopping
voids, but in the end a design prevails: a
connection is made across space and time.
Things fall apart, but the center somehow
holds.
We were going to see The Box, the most
recent of Mosss Culver City projects.Moss
was wearing dark glasses and an air of
unflappable cool as we drove from Santa
Monica to Culver City. His message, not all
that understated, was: this happens here
all the time. Stop acting like a tourist. I said,
Oh? When was the last time the freeway
fell down in three pieces? Moss couldnt,
come to think of it, remember a time when
a quake had taken out a freeway.
Still, as we peered through the windshield,
I began to understand why Moss could
regard the mornings upheaval as a
common occurance: even on days without
seismic disturbance, the city inhabits
a more or less steady state of spatial,

Mrz 2003

visual and social shocks. The quakes


visible effects disordered little piles of
bricks on the sidewalk, cracks in tiled walls
these were nothing compared to the vast
disruption that is the city itself. The freeway
broken into pieces is no more violent than
the freeway intact, prouding out its lyrical,
brutal logic of disconnection over the city
it ostensibly knits together. The place
expands and contracts under the pressure
of its simmultanious desire to become a city
and to escape one.

sign, the whole tenuously held together by


the framing device of the windshield and by
the speed at which the frame devours the
images passing through it. The question
is, how to keep that angle of vision, how to
maintain the speed? How to make buildings
that are not like cars stuck in traffic,
buildings that are not dull, disappointing letdowns after the vision that discloses itself
through the frame?

and medium-sized subjectivisms. Each bid


for order only adds to the babble it strains
to shut out.

Architecture, in such a place, can not


attain an objective frame of reference by
reproducing older norms or inventing new
ones. It can, however, frame the citys
subjective texture as a close approximation
of subjective truth. This is what Eric Owen
Mosss buildings accomplish. Revealing
That is the question to what Mosss Culver the citys logic by turning it outside-in, Moss
City buildings have supplied a series of readjusts the world of material reality by
stunning answers. The stunts that they reaching down hungrily into the mind.
perform mirror the tricks that the city plays
upon the eye of those moving through the
city. He has recreated the box not to
destroy it on more time but to teach it poise.
A sense of balance has grown stronger
because of the challenge the design has
inflicted upon it. Kenneth Tynan famously
wrote that what, when drunk, one sees in
other women, one sees in Garbo sober.
What, when driving, one sees in Los
Angeles, one sees in Moss on foot.

The Box is a charged term in american


architectural history. The most celebrated
act of our most celebrated architect,
Frank Lloyd Wright, was the destruction
of the box. With the open floor plan, the
corner window, the berm wall, and the
car port, Wright broke down conventions
of enclosure and exclusion to create the
classic suburban prototype. Rooted in a
vision of the future in which the city had
dispersed into the countryside, the prairie
house sought a new equilibrium between
the individual building and shared social
space.
Eric Mosss buildings do not feel the way
they photograph. Pictures emphasize
Mosss box readjusts to suit condition a their formal idiosyncrasies. They are real
hundred years down the road. For the enough, but what you feel when you are
future has not turned out exactly as Wright inside the buildings is the powerful sense
had hoped. Urban dispersal is a reality, of logical governing their relationship to the
but it has not resulted in the integration of city outside. Their idiosyncrasies are part
architecture with the land. Instead, buildings of that relationship. They establish that a
have become the land, or have artificially subjective mind is at work, constructing
conditioned it into a building material. a set of places that recalls the process of
Rather than provide the connective issue their creation. But to see them in context
between buildings, the land has enabled is to appreciate the degree to wich that
buildings to be disconnected from each subjectivity functions as an objective mode
other, a series or boxes, strung out in of expression. The city around them is a
disarray.
repertory of little pieces that spire to some
kind of objective norm-to history, technology,
Still, if you survey the city from a certain structure, standardization, not to mention
angle and certain speed, an urban image all the echoes of the 19th century codes
does cohere. In a city where virtually all for domesticity, government power, culture,
architecture occupies the foreground, the religion and industry. But the collective
scenes register the city as a series of leaps result of all this yearning for normativity is
from form to form, colour to colour, sign to a richly textured urban fabric of big, little,

The Box

Hercules Project, Hayden

111

Amerika-Exkursion

WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL


Philip Wharton

architects
address

Design Specs

construction

model overview

construction overview

112

Walt Disney Concert Hall will be located in


Downtown Los Angeles, immediately south
of the Music Centers Dorothy Chandler
Pavilion on a full city block bordered by
First and Second Streets and Hope Street
and Grand Avenue. The 3.5-acre site has
been leased to the Music Center by Los
Angeles County, which also financed a
2,188-car parking garage through a county
bond issue. Located beneath the Concert
Hall and containing the base of the Hall,
the garage was completed and opened to
the public in March 1996.
Walt Disney Concert Halls dynamic and
provocative exterior superstructure will be
clad in architectural stainless steel and will
provide Los Angeles with a striking new
landmark. The complex will be surrounded
by an extensive urban public park featuring
colorful and ornamental landscaping,
walkways, benches and shade trees,
providing a beautiful and inviting space
for the public and concert-goers alike.
Inside, the 293,000 square foot Concert
Hall will house the main auditorium, other
performance spaces, backstage areas for
musicians and house management staff,
several refreshment and beverage bars, a
restaurant, caf, gift shop, and other patron
amenities.
The 2,273-seat main auditorium was

Frank Gehry
111 South Grand Avenue

designed to achieve both visual and


acoustic intimacy. Unlike traditional
theater stages with proscenium arches
and curtains that present physical barriers
between the audience and the orchestra,
the Concert Hall features an open platform
stage. The 360-degree range of seating
around the stage enhances the feeling
that the artists and audience as a group
are participating in a singular creative
experience. Among the interiors most
distinctive characteristics are the sail-like
forms of the wooden ceiling, which suggest
a great ship. A large window at the rear of
the Hall will allow natural light to enhance
daytime concerts. A pipe organ, designed
in conjunction with the interior, will occupy
a central position between seating blocks
at the rear of the stage.
In addition to the main auditorium, the
facility will feature a range of other
indoor and outdoor performance spaces,
including a 600-seat pre-concert foyer, a
266-seat theatre for CalArts, a 120-seat
amphitheatre and a 300-seat Childrens
Amphitheatre, and a chorus rehearsal
room which doubles as a 137-seat theater.
The Gehry design will also meet the
Philharmonics needs for rehearsal space,
storage facilities, and dressing rooms.
The overall Walt Disney Concert
Hall project comprises two additional
architectural components: the Los Angeles

Mrz 2003

sketch

Philharmonic Center and the Roy and Edna of construction feasibility.


Disney/CalArts Theater.
The extensive use of models and mock-ups
An architectural landmark for music
also allowed for the creation of an open
dialogue during the design process, in
Challenged by the complexities of the which the Disney family, the Philharmonic,
program and the site, architect Frank Gehry the Music Center and local artists and
has created a bold and splendid design contractors participated.
for the new Walt Disney Concert Hall. Its
extraordinary concept and presence in the Walt Disney Concert Hall has already
historic Bunker Hill area help realize the achieved international recognition. The
vision of a renewed downtown Los Angeles design was exhibited in the U.S. Pavilion
and underscore the international stature of at the Venice Biennale in 1991 and has
the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the citys been featured in numerous publications
premier cultural ambassador.
throughout the world. In 1992 the design
received an honor award from Progressive
The building itself possesses an imposing Architecture Magazine for the sculptural
and dynamic design, and much of the power of its form and the fluid procession of
site is devoted to gardens and plazas its indoor and outdoor spaces.
accessible from Walt Disney Concert Hall
and the adjacent streets. From stage to
lobbies to two outdoor amphitheaters, the
architect has created an environment of
physical and visual accessibility, reflecting
a sensitivity to the art form itself, an
attractive and functional working place for
the Philharmonics musicians, a welcoming
space for concert-goers and pedestrians
and a distinctive architectural addition to
the citys profile.
Design Process
Walt Disney Concert Hall is the result of
a lengthy design process using sketches,
computer models and scale architectural
models. From the beginning, Frank Gehry
sought the counsil of internationally
recognized musicians, conductors and
directors in the development of all design
concepts. Early sketches and diagrams
were developed into physical models
at various scales, and these models
ultimately led to the development of fullscale mock-ups, in stone and metal for
exterior elements and in wood for interior
elements. These mock-ups assisted in the
refinement of details and in the confirmation

main hall

entrance

founders room interior

sketch

113

Amerika-Exkursion

SILVERLAKE
Reinfried Blaha

architects
address

Neutra immigrated from Vienna, in 1924,


at first settling in New York City. He
worked there for a time before he went to
Chicago, and eventually worked for Frank
Lloyd Wright at Taliesin-East. This is the
beginning of the common thread that has
tied this work and the work of so many
others together. Had it not been for Neutras
insistence, and perseverance in his desire
to work for Wright it is truly doubtful that his
career would have occurred as it did.

Richard Neutra

114

Richard Neutra worked for Wright for about


one year. During this time his colleague,
Rudolph Schindler, urged him to move to
Southern California. Neutra moved to Los
Angeles during 1926. There was not an
immediate working arrangement between
Neutra and Schindler. However, they did
eventually form a kind of partnership.
To their credit are designs for several
commercial projects and some housing
projects. Perhaps best known and
appreciated of their collaboration is the
League of Nations design competition
entry. This was not the sole work of Neutra;
it was produced in collaboration with
Schindler. The fact that Neutras in-laws
did not include Schindlers name on the
competition boards, when the project was
displayed in a traveling exhibit through-out
Europe, was one of the several reasons
their partnership ultimately ended.

Richard Neutra & Dion Neutra


2300 E.Silver Lake Boulevard

He worked in New York, Chicago and


Wisconsin before settling in Los Angeles
where he designed and built the original
VDL House in 1932, located on Silverlake
Reservoir about 2 miles northeast of the
downtown area. The house represented
Neutras progressive design approach and
the latest in technology. He used the house
as a living research building for showcasing
the latest in modern architecture.
Through experiencing, and living in
Neutras VDL II house many basic attitudes
about housing were generated. Neutra,
probably more than any other Los Angeles
architect of his generation, developed a
comprehensive and consistent architectural
language.
Richard Neutra was funded partially by
Dutch industrialist Cornelius H. Van der
Leeuw (VDL). After a disastrous fire in
March 1963, the VDL house was rebuilt
by Dion Neutra in consultation with his
dad, who was often out of town during
those years. They rebuilt the structure
and revived the houses original research
theme while also introducing some
innovations. It was built almost entirely
with donated materials.
This house, which Neutra used as an
advertising tool to attract new clients to his
practice, was first built in 1933 at the height
of the Depression.

Mrz 2003

the VDL Research House, 1965, roof top Solarium. By using mirrors Neutra was
able to extend the view of the Silverlake Reservior. With the water roof he extended
the sky.

His use of the building as both home and


office resolved his complex programmatic
requirements. The original plan was slightly
modified to encompass the changes in
the Neutras lifestyle. The newer structure,
like the original, incorporates the use
of contemporary materials.The current
dwelling consists of a two-story wing
fronting the reservoir connected by a
service core to a one-story wing at the rear.
The one-story wing is the only remaining
original portion of the house. Neutra placed
the main living quarters on the second floor
to take advantage of the views to the lake,
and the abundance of sunlight. He placed
his office and drafting studio on the ground
floor. Among the many subtleties of this
dwelling is the way that Neutra sought to
differentiate entry.

wings is a patio-courtyard reminiscent of


the Spanish dwellings of early California.
This garden room served as a second
kitchen, and outdoor living room for
entertaining.

Between the ground floor drafting studio


and the service corridor is a small bachelor
apartment complete with kitchen. The most
inviting as well as relaxing space in the
house is the roof-top solarium. Facing the
lake, Neutra employed a roof-top water
garden that both cools and insulates the
house. However, this choice also performs
a much more heroic accomplishment. The
water reflects the sky. This room, with its
glass and mirrored walls in combination
with the reflective qualities of the water
envelope anyone who sojourns within this
Since Neutras program required that very special place.
the building have both the functions of
work and dwelling combined he sought
to formally separate the two. This was
obviously accomplished by the floor
separation discussed previously, however,
everyone arriving to the building, including
clients had to pass through a front door. To
further separate the two functions of living
and working Neutra included two formal
front entrances to the building. One might
assume the obvious choice would be to
place these two doors as far apart from one
and other as possible.
However, Neutra choose to place the
doors adjacent and at a 90 angle to each
other. His design subtlety did not end
there. He further expanded this definition
by making each door of entirely different
materials. The entrance to the dwelling is
crafted of on-edge 1 x 2s, forming a heavy
wooden door that is naturally associated
with dwelling. The business entrance
was constructed of glass with aluminum
hardware, and has the firms name painted
on the glass surface. Formed by the main
two-story, side service, and rear one-story

Ground floor plan of the VDL II Research


House, 1965

living room

roof room

view from the garden

Main floor plan of Neutras VDL II Research


House, 1965

115

Amerika-Exkursion

NORTON RESIDENCE
Sarah Schneider

architects
client
address

This three-story house is built on a typically


narrow beachfront lot, bounded by a
heavily-trafficed boardwalk to the west and
an alley in the rear. The owners requested
access to the ocean views without
sacrificing privacy from passers-by and
neighbours to the north and south.
A blue-tiled box structure forms the
ground-floor base to the simple stacking
of programmatic elements. It contains a
studio in front, two bedrooms and a doublecar garage in the rear.
Living and additional bedroom areas on the
second and third levels are raised from the
street and are set back from the beachfront
walk to increase privacy and allow for
terraces fronting the ocean view.

Norton Residence

116

The wide second-level deck also acts as


a visual buffer between the boardwalk
and the living-kitchen-dining areas, and
is continuous with these areas when the
glass doors are open. The kitchens deep
skylight offers visual access to the thirdfloor bedrooms and opens up the long
narrow living area.

Frank O. Gehry, 1984


Norton
2509 Ocean Front Walk, Venice 90291

A stair leads from the western edge of the


main deck to a freestanding study whose
form echoes that of the nearby lifeguard
stations and is a powerful compositional
element, especially when viewed from the
terrace of the third-floor master bedroom.
Two terraces in the rear and easy
access to the roof provide further privacy
and panoramic views of the eclectic
neighborhood.
Diverse exterior materials include concrete
block, glazed tile, stucco and wood logs.
Their varied texture and colors reflect the
visual chaos of the buildings complex
urban context.

Mrz 2003

overview

Norton Residence

plan

117

Amerika-Exkursion

THE GETTY CENTER


Thimo Simma

Grundriss

architects
address

Das Getty Center sitzt auf einem Auslufer


der Santa Monica Mountains, direkt
neben dem San Diego Freeway und in
der Nachbarschaft der Wohngegend
Brentwood.
Strenge
Bauvorschriften,
deren Einhaltung an die Baugenehmigung
gekoppelt
waren,
schrnkten
die
Gebudehhe, die Volumina sowie die
Ausdehnung des gesamten Komplexes
von Anfang an ein. Unter Einhaltung
dieser Beschrnkungen wurde der
Entwurf des Komplexes im wesentlichen
von den natrlichen Voraussetzungen
des erhobenen Standortes bestimmt,
welcher fantastische Ausblicke ber die
Stadt, die Berge bis hin zum Pazifischen
Ozean bietet. Die meisten Gebude sind
entlang der zwei natrlichen Bergrcken
errichtet, welche sich, als Achsen gedacht,
in einem Winkel von 22,5 Grad treffen
Dies entspricht auch der Drehung die der
San Diego Freeway aus dem Raster von
Los Angeles heraus Richtung Norden
macht. Der Entwurf basiert also auf einem
Zusammenspiel dieses Winkels, einem
von Los Angeles abgeleiteten Raster und
einer Anzahl von geschwungene Formen
die sich in der Topographie wiederfinden.
Eine unterirdische Parkgarage und eine
Straenbahnstation wurden in etwa 1
km Entfernung vom Gebudekomplex
errichtet. Ob man nun mit dem Auto,
was der Groteil der Besucher tut, dem
Taxi, dem Bus oder zu Fu kommt,

118

1985 - 1997 by Richard Meier


Sunset Blvd /San Diego Freeway

man gelangt immer auf demselben Weg


zum Getty Center. Man braucht ca. fnf
Minuten um mit der Straenbahn auf die
Hhe des Getty Centers zu gelangen.
Die geschwungene Strecke bietet schne
Ausblicke auf die Topographie und den
Getty Komplex.
Die Strecke endet am Central Plaza,
einem groen Platz, wo sich der Besucher
erst einmal orientieren kann. Hier befindet
sich ein 450 Menschen fassendes
Auditorium, welches zusammen mit
den Getty Trust Bros und dem Getty
Information Institute den nrdlichen
Abschluss des Gebudekomplexes bilden.
Direkt daneben, nach Osten ausgerichtet,
befindet sich ein Gebude in dem das
Getty Conservation Institute, das Getty
Education Institute for the Arts, und das
Getty Grant Program untergebracht sind.
Dieses Gebude ist zum Groteil nicht
ffentlich zugnglich. Das Museum selbst
erstreckt sich in sdliche Richtung entlang
der einen natrlichen Achse, whrend
das Restaurant/Caf und das Research
Institute for the History of Arts and the
Humanities strategische Positionen auf
der sich nach Sdwesten erstreckenden
Achse
einnehmen.
Aufgrund
der
Bebauungsvorschriften
mssen
die
meisten Gebude unterhalb des hchsten
Punktes von 275 m Seehhe bleiben, was
zur Folge hat, dass viele Einrichtungen
auch unterirdisch angelegt sind.

Mrz 2003

plan

Der
ankommende
Besucher
wird
aufgefordert zu whlen ob er sofort in das
Museum eintreten oder die Anlage auf
eigene Faust erkunden mchte. Jene die
sich fr das Museum entschieden haben
bewegen sich nun ber eine weitlufige
Treppe auf das Museum zu und betreten
dieses
durch
eine
dreigeschossige
zylindrische Lobby, welche sich zum
Museumshof hin ffnet und so den Blick auf
die verschiedenen Galerien freigibt. Die an
Pavillons erinnernde Galerien strukturieren
das Gebude und verleihen ihm einen
angenehmen Mastab. Die Freirume
zwischen den einzelnen Pavillons geben
immer wieder Blicke auf die umliegende
Landschaft frei.

chronologische Ordnung zu umgehen.

Obwohl das Museum der bekannteste


Teil des Getty Centers ist, nehmen die
Galerien nur einen Teil dieses Weitlufigen
Komplexes ein. Die anderen Institutionen
des Gretty Trust beschftigen eine noch
viel grere Anzahl von Menschen. Auch
diese Gebude sind fr Besucher nicht
uninteressant. Das Restaurant/Caf ist
sicher ein beliebter Besuchertreffpunkt.
Nahe des Central Plaza situiert ist es von
den meisten Teilen des Komplexes leicht
erreichbar. Durch grozgige Fenster
und Terrassen knnen Ausblicke ber
die Berge im Norden bis hin zum Ozean
im Westen genossen werden. Auf der
anderen Seite des Central Plaza liegt das
Die
Ausstellung
ist
chronologisch Auditorium, in dem des fteren Tagungen,
und entsprechend der knstlerischen Vortrge, Konzerte und andere kulturelle
Medien organisiert. Bewegt man sich im Veranstaltungen stattfinden.
Uhrzeigersinn durch die Sammlungen so
sind diese in chronologischer Reihenfolge Das Getty Research Institute for the History
erlebbar, wobei die verschiedenen Medien of Art and the Humanities ist auf dem
auf das Erd- und Obergeschoss der abgeschiedeneren westlichen Hgelrcken
Pavillons verteilt sind. Die Bildergalerien situiert und vervollstndigt den Gettynehmen das Obergeschoss eines jeden Komplex. Das zylindrische Gebude enthlt
Pavillons ein. Aufgrund des ausgeklgelten eine Bibliothek die eine Million Bnde fasst,
Belichtungssystems knnen die Bilder am sowie Lesesle, kleine Ausstellungsflchen,
Tag ohne zustzliche knstliche Belichtung Bros fr die Angestellten aber auch
betrachtet werden. Dekorative Kunst, Rume fr Studenten und Wissenschaftler.
Manuskripte, Fotografien und Arbeiten auf Dieses gewaltige Gebude ist auch
Papier sind im Erdgeschoss untergebracht im Inneren radial organisiert. Die
um sie vor dem schdlichen ultravioletten Bibliothek bildet nicht das Zentrum des
Licht zu schtzen. Wechselt man nun Gebudes, denn sie ist auf mehrere
die Ebenen in einem Pavillon, so kann kleinere Sub-Bibliotheken aufgeteilt, um
verschiedene Arten von Kunstwerken den Studenten und Wissenschaftlern
sehen, die in der selben Epoche entstanden ein leichteres Arbeiten zu ermglichen,
sind. Bleibt man jedoch auf einer Ebene so sowie die Suche nach spezifischen
erlebt man die Evolution eines Mediums Materialien einfacher zu gestalten. Die
durch die einzelnen Epochen. Mehrere zylindrische Form des Gebudes drckt
Spezialausstellungsflchen, unter anderem im Grunde die introspektive Natur des
eine fr mittelgroe Wanderausstellungen, Forschungsinstitutes aus.
bringen eine Entlastung fr die einzelnen
Bereiche mit sich. Fr Besucher die nur Durch reichlich bepflanzte Terrassen und
einen bestimmten Teil der Sammlung Pltze, die sich zwischen den einzelnen
betrachten mchten bieten zahlreiche Gebuden ausdehnen, wird versucht den
Ersatzrouten
die
Mglichkeit
die Komplex in die Landschaft zu integrieren.

axo

Brunnen und Kanle, die bis in den


Central Garden reichen, sind ebenso
wichtige Elemente um den gesamten
Komplex zu beleben. Verschiedene Arten
der Gebudeverkleidung sollen nicht
nur eine Verbindung des Komplexes zur
Umgebung herstellen, sondern auch die
Verschiedenheit der darin untergebrachten
Institutionen zum Ausdruck bringen. Das
Museum als der ffentlichste Teil des
Getty Centers, ist mit Travertin verkleidet.
Diese Auenhaut soll ein Gefhl der
Dauerhaftigkeit vermitteln, sich aber
auch klar vom hgeligen Untergrund
absetzten. Alle wichtigen Gebude sind
mit Travertin verkleidet und erwecken
dadurch den Eindruck als wrden sie direkt
in die zahlreich eingesetzten Sttzmauern
flieen. Weniger wichtige Sttzmauern
werden verputzt oder mit anderen
Materialien verkleidet. Das Research
Institute als Ostgebude, Auditorium,
Restaurant/Caf und die Nord-Gebude
mit ihren geschwungenen Formen und
groen Fensterflchen sind grtenteils
mit hellen Metallplatten verkleidet. Diese
Fassade ist fast so dauerhaft wie Stein und
reflektiert mit ihrer leicht matten Oberflche
das Licht ohne zu Blenden. Diese Mischung
aus Stein und Metall, in Verbindung mit der
ppigen Vegetation, harmonisiert sehr gut
mit der Sdkalifornischen Landschaft.
Das Getty Center ist der Erhaltung und
Bewahrung des kulturellen Erbes der
Menschheit gewidmet. Um dieser Aufgabe
gerecht zu werden wurde ein Komplex
geschaffen, welcher symmetrische
Organisation mit asymmetrischen Formen
verbindet und dadurch versucht eine
Balance zwischen dem Humanismus der
Geometrie und der Spontaneitt ihrer
organischen Anordnung herzustellen.
Erffnet im Dezember 1997, wurde diese
Institution zum grten kulturellen Zentrum
von Los Angeles und zu einer Attraktion
fr nationale und internationale Besucher.
Thimo Simma

119

Amerika-Exkursion

LOVELL BEACH HOUSE


Martin Zangerl

architects
client
address

Constructed in 1926, the Lovell Beach


House was perhaps the first pure
International Style house built in America.
Designed by Rudolf Schindler for the
same progressive physician who later
commissioned Richard Neutra to design
his well known Los Angeles home, the
Lovell Beach House consists of a series
of five concrete frames that form the main
structure. The rhythm of these planes
provides a striking composition of forms,
and elegantly elevates the main living
spaces above the surrounding ground level
for a panorama of the ocean beyond.

Rudolf Schindler

120

In recent years Schindler has become


increasingly recognized as a key figure
in the history of both international and
American architecture. Serving as a lively
conduit of trans-Atlantic architectural
ideas, his work is a model for a humanistic,
regionally sensitive architectural practice.
Born in Vienna and trained in both
architecture and engineering, Schindler
absorbed the influences of the Austrian
avant-garde during the first decades of
the twentieth century, especially under
the tutelage of Otto Wagner and Adolf
Loos. It was his exposure to the work
of Frank Lloyd Wright, however, that
prompted him to come to America with the
hopes of working for the elder architect.
Schindler began his American career with
the Chicago firm of Ottenheimer, Stern,
and Reichert in 1914, where he oversaw

Rudolf Schindler
Philip Lovell
1242 Ocean Avenue,Newport beach

the design and construction of a variety of


buildings.
In 1917 he fulfilled his wishes when he
began work with Wright. Wright was to
be an enormous influence on Schindler
during the four years under his employ.
The fact that Schindler remained in the
States during the course of the traumatic
First World War meant that the idealism
of his early training was not subjected to
the pursuant cynicism of his colleagues
in war-torn Europe. He was able to
forge a unique architectural identity
that mixed the industrial utopianism of
European modernism with the earthbound
refinements of Wright. The result is an
architecture that is particularly responsive
to a sites cultural, technological, and
climatic conditions, and in direct opposition
to the generic prescriptions of much of the
most celebrated modern architecture of the
first half of the century.
Schindler moved to Los Angeles in 1920
to supervise a major project for Wright.
He never left. In the thirty-three years that
followed, Schindler built an enormously
varied and vigorous body of architecture
that took California as its muse. Schindler
experimented with materials from concrete
to translucent plastic; built in mountains,
deserts, beaches, and hills; adopted
standard building methods such as wood
frame construction to achieve both greater

Mrz 2003

Ansicht

efficiency and more expressive potential;


and nimbly jumped from single-family
to multiple-family dwellings, commercial
to religious structures, with the goal of
matching building to client and site. The
results are superficially eclectic, one of
the reasons he never rose to a level of
prominence during his lifetime achieved by
such contemporaries as Le Corbusier, Mies
van der Rohe, or even fellow countryman
Richard Neutra. However, over the past
three decades architects and historians
alike have found in Schindler a fascinating
model of modernity that upholds, rather
than rejects, heterogeneity.

his output, one notices that each project


differs greatly from the next: evidence of his
constant search for architectural solutions
to address each commission individually.
Of particular interest is his sensitivity to
local environmental, cultural, and industrial
conditions, a feature that sets an example
for all architecture, no matter its locale, to
follow. As recent immigrants to this country
are often able to do, Schindler saw the
beauty and potential of the American
landscape and tailored his architecture to
take advantage of it. It is hoped that visitors
will come away from this exhibition with a
greater awareness of what can be done to
encourage regional expression,especially
Besides illuminating his place in the history in an age of globalization and its potential
of modern architecture, a central issue for homogenization.
that the exhibition considers is Schindlers
relevance to todays architectural culture. Michael Darling, Assistant Curator,
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The body of scholarly interpretation on (MOCA)
Schindlers work has grown exponentially in
the last thirty years, and this exhibition both Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of
builds on that scholarship and provides the Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro
Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45.
most extensive artifactual evidence to date p136.
from which to evaluate his career.

Innenansicht

The exhibition is organized chronologically,


beginning with Schindlers early work
in Vienna, progressing to his work in
Chicago, and concluding with his mature
work in California. The distinctive yet
subtle changes in his early phase are
amply documented, while his mature work
from the 1920s onward receives the most
intensive attention. Schindlers drawings
constitute the core of the exhibition,
as they show the architect vigorously
experimenting with form, structure, and
imagery. In many drawings, marginal
notations and pictorial sketches reveal the
thinking behind his creative process, while
colorful presentation drawings dramatize
his vision for the final product.
One of the goals of the exhibition is to
call attention to Schindlers restless
experimentalism. Scanning the range of

Grundriss

121

Amerika-Exkursion

MOCA
Eva Diem

architects
address

An exceptional surface of red Indian


stone gives the Los Angeles Museum of
Contemporary Art, sitting at the intersection
of Grand Avenue and Kosciuszko Way, a
unique appearance. Designed by Arata
Isozaki of Gruen Associates, Architects,
the building was constructed between
1983 to 1987.

Ansicht

MOCA

MOCA

122

The landscape, designed by POD Inc.,


Landscape Architects, consists of an
interconnecting plaza that acts as an
exhibition area where alternating exhibits
are shown between the two main buildings.
The primary entrance to the museum is
located at a lower level adjacent to a cafe
laid out by designer Brent Saville. California
Plaza, across the way, can be reached
through the main plaza and by way of a
Moorish/Spanish water garden.(ASLA)
Ordinances required a building of low
height, with a pedestrian walkway crossing
its axis....The building is built around
a terraced courtyard. The galleries are
below ground level, most having overhead
lighting. Under the courtyard, the galleries
lead into each other from left to right.
Above the courtyard, the only building
which stands out is the section devoted to
administration, with a roof in the shape of a
semicircular dome....The whole geometric
composition of the building is based on the
golden section as the Western method of
planning shapes and subdividespaces,

Arata Isozaki
250 South Grand Avenue, LA

on the oriental theory of ying and yang,


positive - negative. The rooms in the
extremes of the building have expressive
skylights in volumetrically pure shapes:
various pyramids and a series of linear
skylights....The exterior is a natural reddish
coloured stone, contrasting with the
transparent skylights and the lustre of the
semi-cylindrical roof of the offices...

Mrz 2003

main hall

The Creators Words


For the first twenty years of my career
as a professional architect, I believed that
architecture could only be accomplished
by irony. It could allude to treason.
It made it possible to create architecture
as criticism. It could admire the vulgar
against the noble, the secular against
the sacred, without shame. It was
an unfulfilled wish, a mourning for
what was lost Hiroshima, holocaust
To bridge over the gap style of wit, a sense
of humor and paradox were adopted. After
twenty years of practical experience, I
am now going to find a method to create
architecture without irony.

MOCA

Arata Isozaki, Architecture With or Without


Irony, 1985. from Arata Isozaki. Arata
Isozaki: Architecture 1960-1990. p9.

Josep M. Montaner. New Museums. p99.


Architecture With or Without Irony, 1985. from Arata
Isozaki. Arata Isozaki: Architecture 1960-1990. p9

Grundriss

123

Amerika-Exkursion

literature

Die beiliegende Liste stellt nur eine Auswahl dar.

124

Mrz 2003
Anderton, Frances und Chase, John
Las Vegas - Ein Fhrer zur zeitgenssischen Architektur
Knnemann, Kln , 1997
Anderton, Frances and Chase, John
Las Vegas - the success of excess
Knnemann, Kln , 1997

Venturi, Robert; Brown Denise Scott and Izenour, Steven


Learning from Las Vegas
(MIT press)
World cities - Los Angeles
academy editions, 1994

Balfour, Alan
World cities - New York
Wiley-Academy, 2001
Banham, Reyner
Los Angeles - The architecture of four ecologies
Harper & Row, Publishers, 1971
Gebhard, David and Winter, Robert
Los Angeles, an architectural guide
Los Angeles, 1994
Klotz, Heinrich (Hrsg.)
New York Architektur 1970 - 1990
Prestel Verlag, Mnchen 1989
Koenig, Gloria
ICONIC
Stories of LAs most memorable buildings
(Foreword by Frank O. Gehry)
Balcony press, California, 2000
Koolhaas, Rem
Delirious New York
Le Blanc, Sydney
20th century american architecture
a travelers guide to 220 key buildings
Mc Coy, Esther
Case Study Houses 1945-1962
Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc.
Los Angeles, 1977
Phillips-Pulverman, Dian
Los Angeles - a guide to recent architecture
Artemis London Limited, 1994
Roth M. Leland
A concise history of American architecture
New York, 1979
Sirefman, Susanna
New York - Ein Fhrer zur zeitgenssischen Architektur
Knnemann, Kln , 1997
Smith, Elizabeth A.T.
Case study houses
The complete CGH program 1945-1966
Taschen
Smith, Elizabeth A.T.
Blueprints for modern living
History and Legacy of the Case Study houses
The museum of contemporay art + The MIT Press
Steele, James
Los Angeles architecture
The contemporary condition
Paidon press, 1993
125

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