Southern California has always considered itself a place apart. A haven for exiles from America in search of opportunity, health and reinvention. Starting in the 1910's and 20's, it became a laboratory for modern living.
"You could come to Southern California and realize a house that is not only an expression of your ideas about architecture and design, but is also a home in which you can explore you ideals about how to live, how to work within a community, and how to creatively express yourself."
Migrants, foreign exiles, independent women, social reformers, political radicals and avant garde artists made a vibrant SOCIAL CULTURE. Financial prosperity, a mild climate and inexpensive land created an ENVIRONMENT that enabled new ways of living. Clean industries developed advanced TECHNOLOGY, new materials and efficient production methods that encouraged innovation.
Modern ARCHITECTS experimented with fresh approaches to the design and production of housing. Their unconventional CLIENTS expected their houses to reflect their revolutionary ideals and healthy lifestyles.
Today's harsh realities have tarnished the idealism of these early Modernists. But their VISION continues to shape our modern identity and aspirations.
In the early twentieth century, Eastern transplant Irving GILL and two Viennese exiles, R M SCHINDLER and Richard NEUTRA, began their careers in Southern California. They were thrust to the forefront of design for modern living by their clients, philanthropist Ellen SCRIPPS, heiress Aline BARNSDALL, social activist Pauline SCHINDLER and health advocate Philip LOVELL.
Postwar architects including Rafael SORIANO, Craig ELLWOOD and Pierre KOENIG were commissioned by magazine editor John ENTENZA to design prototypes for standardized housing using newly-developed materials and industrial methods. Photographer Julius SHULMAN captured the images that made them icons of American Modernism.