While his best-known design is the house and studio he built for himself at 835 N. Kings Rd., in West Hollywood, Studio City has three Schindler buildings that are well worth seeking out:
- The Lingenbrink Shops, 12634 to 12672 Ventura Blvd. Completed in 1942, this pioneering mini-mall was one of two commercial projects Schindler designed for real estate developer William Lingenbrink.
- The S. Goodwin House, 3807 Reklaw Dr., built in 1941.
- The Laurelwood Apartments, 11833 Laurelwood Dr., built in 1949. This courtyard apartment complex was the last designed by Schindler.
Any one who has driven on Ventura Boulevard, east of Fairway Avenue, has seen the Lingenbrink Shops across the street from the Pinz Bowling Center and former Jerry’s Deli site. According to the L.A. Conservancy, Schindler designed this string of shops as “a staggered series of connected buildings with flat roofs and prominent perpendicular stucco planes.”
Between the Belle Bakery, 12634 Ventura Blvd., and the now-closed Chateau Chinoiserie, 12672 Ventura Blvd., the shops are contained in five blocks. Most are single story, but some are two. Despite their small scale and common use of stucco, glass and flagstone, there is visual variety and appeal here. It’s worth parking and walking along the frontage to fully appreciate this series of buildings.
According to LACurbed.com, the house has been “meticulously updated” and retains its original built-in furniture and wood paneling. The house was put on the market in 2018 for $1.89 million. It had previously sold in 2015 for $1.5 million.
Instead of deathly symmetrical units facing into each other’s windows, each two-bedroom unit at Laurelwood has its own entrance, unique views and private outdoor space, according to the L.A. Conservancy. First floor units have private patios; second floor units have terraces built on the roof of the next unit down. A central walkway runs gently up hill. The Laurelwood streetscape has been landscaped with drought-resistant plantings.
Schindler had long been an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. In 1918, he went to work for Wright at his Taliesin, WI, studios. When Wright was hired to design the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Schindler ran Wright’s American operations in Oak Park, IL.
Two years later, Wright sent Schindler to Los Angeles to supervise the construction of the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House. Schindler fell in love with Southern California’s climate, light and landscape. He began doing independent projects, eventually leaving Wright’s practice and opening his own architectural firm with fellow Austrian emigre Richard Neutra. (For awhile Schindler and Neutra shared both Schindler’s West Hollywood house and studio.)
Schindler’s work is noted for how he created spaces in response to individual clients’ needs and challenging, sometimes hilly, sites. Most of his buildings were single-family homes, although he did design apartment buildings, a few commercial projects and a church (the Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4900 S. Compton Ave., South Los Angeles).
He was not well-appreciated during his lifetime. He was not allowed to be part of the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark 1932 International Style exhibition nor the Case Study House Program created by Arts + Architecture magazine founder John Entenza.
Today, seven of his houses and apartment buildings have been declared City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments.