Within the Case Study House Program, the #21 represents an experiment that the architect Pierre Koenig conceived following -and sometimes inventing- the principles of the mid-century modern architecture like the on-site assembling of prefabricated elements.
The Case Study House #21 is located in a Hollywood Hills canyon and its structure is made of glass walls surmounted by a ribbed steel ceiling -instead of the traditional overhanging one- that protects from the Californian heat. For an optimized sun control, cooling-shades are used in the southern part of the house and over the opening in the central patio; to also provide a feeling of privacy.
The exposed roof gives a dramatic effect to the house profile; as the photographer Julius Schulman pictured in the famous pictures you can see in this post.
Like Richard Neutra did with The Josef von Sternberg House, also Koenig considered the water as a fundamental element of the project. The water is hydraulically pumped to the roof from the pool surrounding the house to fall back again in the pools below, creating an incredible fountain-effect and contributing to the iconic look of the Case Study House #21.
The water has a decorative function because reflects and amplifies the house profiles but, while falling down to the pools, contributes to create a peaceful atmosphere as well; It definitely was a revolutionary concept back then.
The two bathrooms and the water heating system are located in the heart of the house communicating with the patio.
Koenig used this area to divide public from private spaces while making the baths accessible from all the rooms. The solution allows the light to get in the living area and kitchen even if far from the big floor to ceiling windows.
The Case Study House #21 represents, within all the steel houses projects, the acme in architectural planning and developing; its plan and execution are heretofore considered experimental. The careful use of prefabricated steel elements, made this project luxurious without being expensive.
The water and the steel structure constitute the theme of the house, enriched with the brick terraces that add another texture. Spanning the pool, the terraces provide direct access to the living area while, to provide a continuity of theme, a pool is located in the internal patio where the water falls on a mosaic tiled wall.
Koenig particularly cared to link the different areas of the house: public spaces, patio, bathrooms and bedrooms. It is possible to access to baths thorough either the bedrooms or the court, directly accessible from the bedrooms and the living room; also the bedrooms are communicating with each other by a passage near to the storage wall closed by a sliding door.
You can read more about the CSH Program in The Case Study Houses Program: Mid-Century Modern Architecture, and Case Study House #20: The Richard Neutra Baily House. But Also in the Richard Neutra biography.
(photos via [amazon_link id="3836510219" target="_blank" container="" container_class="" ]Case Study Houses – The Complete CSH Program[/amazon_link])
Check also The Case Study Houses Program: Mid-Century Modern Architecture and the Case Study House #20: The Richard Neutra Baily House. to discover more about the program.
What do you like the most of this iconic house ?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, I can’t wait to read them.
All the pics in this post are from the amazing Case Study Houses, one of my favorite books and a must have for al the enthusiasts about mid century modern. Check it out!