Page E1.1 . 07 November 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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    A Stylish Sustainability

    by Alice Kimm

    In the 1920s, after working with Frank Lloyd Wright for several years, architect Rudolf Schindler pioneered a new kind of residence in Southern California. Schindler's work, while exhibiting some formal attributes of the International Style, was tempered by a sensitivity to the environment.

    Schindler was inspired by the beautiful light and the mild, sunny climate. His body of residential architecture is best exemplified by his own house on Kings Road in Los Angeles. It incorporates free-plan living spaces, comfortable outdoor sleeping porches, and large sliding partitions that, left open much of the time, blur the line between inside and outside. Schindler also used basic and inexpensive materials, like wood joists and concrete, and exposed their natural beauty.

    Decades later, and following many shifts in architectural trends, we are faced with dwindling natural resources. To protect our environment, architects are re-examining construction products and processes. Schindler's environmentally sensitive work, therefore, resonates with us.

    While probably not the result of a need to conserve resources but instead a purely architectural response to a mild climate, Schindler's buildings exploited nature's riches without causing her much damage.

     

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    ArchWeek Image

    Rudolf Schindler's own house in Los Angeles displays a trademark use of basic materials.
    Great Buildings Photo Howard Davis

    ArchWeek Image

    Schindler was known for blurring inside and outside, though his preoccupation with nature was probably not driven by a concern for sustainability.
    Great Buildings Photo Howard Davis

     

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