With the announcement of the new TBREG office in LA, I thought it would be fun to talk about the most iconic residential house of Los Angeles. Arguably, this is the most photographed house in the world – Case Study House 22, or the Stahl House. And it’s right here in our own city! So, let’s get started…
What exactly is a Case Study House?
After World War II, and with it the return of its soldiers, America found the need for innovative,
functional residential housing. Arts and Architecture magazine (which is no longer in existence) ran a 20 year long project commissioning prominent architects of the day to design homes, making the plans available to be reconstructed inexpensively. This type of program is unique to this day. 36 homes, which re-defined residential housing, were designed. Most of the Case Study Houses were built in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, although some never saw completion. The most photographed and famous is Case Study House 22, also known as The Stahl House, and is located in Hollywood.
Image (c) 2010 Stahl House, Inc. Photographer: Nickolas Loftus
Who lived in Case Study House 22, and how much did it cost to construct?
The Stahl family, who was neither famous or overly rich, lived in Case Study House #22. Buck Stahl and his wife, Carlotta, had three children. The land at 1635 Woods Drive in Hollywood was purchased by Buck Stahl in 1954 for $13,500 dollars. This piece of real estate was considered undesirable, because although it had great views of Los Angeles, it is on the side of the cliff with a very steep grade. Buck designed many aspects of the home himself before seeking out an architect. The project was completed 13 months later for $37,500, complete with a swimming pool and 2,200 square feet of living space. The 2 bedroom/2 bath home was named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1999. The home today looks much the same as it did when Stahl family was residing there, and much effort is put into maintaining
Who was the architect?
Pierre Koenig was an American architect who received his degree from USC, where he also later taught while continuing his practice. Along with CSH 22, he designed many other modern residential structures, including one other Case Study House (number 21, which sold at auction for $3.1 million in 2007).
What role did the photography of Julius Shulman play in promoting the home? Julius Shulman is a celebrated post war modern architectural photographer. The list of awards and
honors presented to Shulman throughout the years is long, and includes the American Institute of Architecture Gold Medal for architectural photography in 1969. He lived from 1910 until 2009. A critically acclaimed movie gives much detail to his life (poster pictured below), and is a great way to learn more about his extraordinary career. (Visual Acoustics is available on Netflix).
Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program published by Tashen
Visual Acousitcs: The Modernism of Julius Shulman: A Film by Eric Bricker poster – background photo by Julius Shulman
Why the obsession with The Stahl House?
The Stahl House embodies the Californian, and inherently, the American Dream. Although this piece of real estate was far from ideal, a beautiful, functional home that re-defined single family dwellings was built on it. A typical family lived here, which could have been you or me. The Stahl family made the home their own, tying their own stories and memories into it. This makes the residence all the more relatable. The photography and artistry that is drawn to this dwelling creates a continual sense of wonder, fame, and nostalgia.
Can I visit CSH 22?
Yes! A visit to this remarkable, historical home is worth the trip (I’ve done done it myself and recommend it). Tours are available for purchase through www.stahlhouse.com, and start at $35 dollars per adult (using one 1 car). Keep in mind that the home is located in a residential neighborhood, and in a effort to not disturb the surrounding community, tours and limited, as well as the number of vehicles allowed at any given time. Tickets must be purchased in advance (no ‘walk-ins’). All information derived from stahlhouse.com, The Stahl House, Inc. and Julius Shulman: Architecture and it’s Photography, TASCHEN America LLC
To connect with Kelly please shoot her an email at Kelly.Enciso@TheBoutiqueRE.com or visit her here.