Modernist House by Schindler Donated to MAK

June 5, 2008

By David Sokol

On Wednesday, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, in Los Angeles, announced that it would acquire the Fitzpatrick House, a residence designed by architect Rudolph Schindler in 1936. The property has been renamed the Fitzpatrick-Leland House in honor of its donor, current homeowner Russ Leland.

Fitzpatrick House, designed by the architect Rudolph Schindler
Photo courtesy Julius Shulman Photograph Archive/Getty Research Institute

The MAK Center for Art and Architecture, in Los Angeles, has acquired the Fitzpatrick House, designed by the architect Rudolph Schindler in 1936.

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Located at Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive, the 2,400-square-foot, L-shaped dwelling—Schindler’s only spec house—perches on a cliff’s edge and features a series of stepped, interlocking volumes whose composition impacts the interior experience. When Leland purchased the house in 1990, much of its original design had been altered. During a 10-year restoration, he resurrected floor-to-ceiling windows and steel-framed windows, as well as sliding glass doors, a brick fireplace, and a second-floor balcony.

Leland’s donation represents the third Schindler-designed work in the MAK Center’s portfolio. (MAK Center does not fully own all three buildings, but assumes financial and programming responsibility for them.) The Vienna-based Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art founded its MAK Center Los Angeles branch in 1994, launching with an extensive renovation of the Kings Road House, more commonly known as the Schindler House, and making its headquarters there.

Schindler opened his own practice in 1921 with the Kings Road project, building it as a studio and communal home for himself, wife Sophie Pauline Gibling, and friends Clyde and Marian Chace. It is widely recognized as a seminal work of Modernism, elegantly adapted to the temperate California climate and progressive politics of its era.

In 1995 MAK undertook the restoration of the Schindler-designed Mackey Apartments (1939), which is now the residential quarters of the MAK Artists and Architects in Residence Program. Continuing a tradition of MAK occupying each of its Schindler buildings, the Fitzpatrick-Leland House will contain the center’s Urban Future Initiative, a new program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that provides two-month residences to cultural researchers.


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