Next up on our self-guided education in influential architects: RM Schindler. You might notice a pattern here (especially if you checked out our previous post about Neutra), but we draw a ton of inspiration from modern architects around the early to mid-Twentieth century.
Schindler was Austrian-born, but nearly all of his career as an architect was spent in the US. The majority of his most famous and influential works are clustered around the Los Angeles area, and while he was definitely a part of the modernist movement, his work is sort of on the fringe — and since much of his work was created under tight budgets, we've learned a ton from him when it comes to making the most of what you have to work with (other independent companies will feel us on that one).
Schindler graduated from the Austrian Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1911 with a degree in architecture, and he attributes his largest influences around that time to his professor Carl König and, of course, to Frank Lloyd Wright. It was also around this time that Schindler met his friend and career rival, Richard Neutra. At one point, the two architects and their wives even shared a live-work space.
Schindler moved to Chicago in 1914 to work for the Ottenheimer, Stern, and Reichert design firm, even taking a pay cut to move to America because he was so influenced by Henry Hobson Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Schindler continually sent letters to Wright asking him for a job, and Wright eventually hired him on to help with work in his American offices while Wright traveled to Japan to work on the Imperial Hotel for several years. Later, in 1920, Wright called upon Schindler to travel to Los Angeles and work on the Barnsdall House.
While living in Los Angeles, Schindler completed what most fans think of as his finest works. Most notably, he completed the Kings Road House, also known as the Schindler house, in 1922. Schindler's relationship with Wright began to deteriorate around this time, as Schindler felt undervalued and underpaid for many of his tasks (for example, Schindler did most of the drawings for the Hollyhock House while Wright was in Japan, but Wright was the one who received all of the credit once the home was completed).
Once he struck out on his own, Schindler began to incorporate unique details and building materials into his work that he later became known for after his death. He used concrete in early projects like The Kings Road House, Pueblo Ribera Court, Lovell Beach House, Wolfe House, and How House, which contrasted building materials such as redwood and glass. Later, as a means to cut costs, Schindler abandoned concrete and began using plaster-skin design, and he also developed his signature platform frame system, the Schindler Frame, in 1945.
We love Schindler for his early work in Los Angeles that went unrecognized for years, and we take a lot from his studies in form and his work with materials that were previously thought of as cheap or classless. Just goes to show that with an eye for style and some creative use, you can make a lot from very little.