Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Schindler-Chace House Today

Today, the Schindler-Chace House is used as a public centre for art and architecture. It is owned by the Friends of Schindler House (FOSH) and is operated by the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/ Contemporary Art, Vienna (MAK). The house was restored by FOSH to its 1925 condition in the eighties with the financial aid of the city. The north sleeping basket built by the Neutras was left, but most of the other changes made by the Schindlers over their lifetimes were scrapped in an effort to bring forth once again Schindler’s original intent.

The house was the first modern California house built to respond to the climate of California and use it to its advantage. It set the precedent for post-war California Houses, the iconic one story dwelling with an open floor plan and a flat roof, which opened to the garden through sliding doors while turning its back on the street ("MAK Centre Los Angeles" ). It was largely ignored for the better part of its lifespan, due to its audacious originality and Schindler’s refusal to advertise it. Only after Schindler’s death was his work finally both appreciated and understood. This is what the MAK Centre tries to emulate in its exhibitions and principles. 

The context of the site has greatly changed since the 20s. West Hollywood became more and more dense as the years wore on, and four-storey apartment buildings started to dominate the landscape. The open, expansive lots that were first built upon are no more, and the house is now surrounded by development. When the house was slated for restoration, some suggested that it be relocated in the desert since its surroundings had changed so much. However, the general consensus was that the house stood on its own, indifferent to the buildings next to it, so it stands today on its original site. 

The house is open to the public for tours and events are regularly held. The exhibitions at the centre are used to promote dialogue and question boundaries, a principle that Schindler preached and practiced and is evident in the Schindler-Chace House ("MAK Centre Los Angeles" )

A map of the immediate neighbourhood around the Schindler house

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