Nestled behind a thick wall of bamboo on Kings Road in West Hollywood, the Schindler House was designed by architect and Viennese émigré Rudolph Schindler and is considered one of the world’s first modern houses. You approach down a gravel driveway, and check in for a self-guided tour beyond the front door at the office that was once a garage. (Volunteer docents are available for tours Saturday and Sundays, but you need to call ahead to confirm that a docent is available on the day of your visit.)
Built in 1921–22, the Schindler House was conceived as an experiment in communal living. It was designed to be shared by two couples: Schindler and his wife Pauline, and their friends Clyde and Marian Chace. There were four private rooms, one for each person, plus plenty of communal spaces for gathering including gardens, patios, and a common kitchen. Imagine what an avant-garde arrangement this was back in the early 1920s!
In this 93-year-old house we noticed several features and aesthetics that are standards of contemporary design today, including an indoor-outdoor flow from nearly every room and the use of unfinished industrial materials like concrete walls and sliding glass panels. The house is not large and a tour won’t take too long. Be sure to wander the grounds a bit; young children may enjoy the sunken areas of the garden and a stroll around the vegetable beds towards the back of the property.
Today the Schindler House is also the headquarters of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, which mounts exhibitions and offers public programs in the space. Consult their website to see what will be on display when you visit.
The Schindler House and MAK Center Bookstore are open to the public Wednesday through Sunday 11 am–6 pm. Admission is $7/$6 for students and seniors. It’s free for Friends of the MAK Center and children under twelve, and also on Friday afternoons from 4–6 pm, International Museum Day in May, and September 10, which is Schindler’s birthday. On-street parking is available, or you can park at the public parking garage on the northeast corner of Kings Road and Santa Monica Boulevard.
Schindler House // 835 N. Kings Road West Hollywood, CA 90069 // 323-651-1510
Photo Credits: © MAK Center / Photo by Joshua White
Article by Stacey Ravel Abarbanel