Proposals: Sandra Peters – north kings road // intricate structure

Sandra Peters

The multi-family house on North Kings Road is laid out like a rotating wing. Four workrooms of equal size are anchored by a communal kitchen and flow in pairs around two garden areas meant as living rooms. The construction materials Schindler chose were all used in their natural condition. The concrete is raw, as is the treated redwood. The character of the building materials turns both outward to the exterior and inward to the interior. Hence the materials seem like a membrane that enables interior and exterior space to join in a flowing exchange. People are protected on one side by the architectural structure as they remain in immediate contact with their interior and exterior surroundings.

With my work north kings road // intricate structure, I will highlight the two different window elements in the studios of Pauline Schindler Gibling and Marian Chace, and shift them at several levels. In Pauline’s studio, I will use the window that is visible if one’s back is to the concrete wall looking into the garden, and make a full-size copy in wood with no window panes to be cast in concrete. Shifted slightly into the room, at a distance of five feet from the original window, this new window structure made of concrete, the characteristic construction material of the Schindler House, will be placed in the studio as a “reflection” of the original window. The concrete element will be placed on the floor and stabilized by a broader overlay on the lower part of the window in connection to a clamp to the wooden beam.

I will treat the window in the corner facing the garden in Marian Chace’s studio similarly. Schindler constructed this window so there is a longer side that meets at a right angle with a shorter window. The right-angled window structure cast in concrete will be placed on the floor opposite the original window, again producing a reflection of the original window.

Stemming from my previous works relating to Rudolph Schindler, this design also emphasizes that the architect’s plans frequently focus on the diagonal spatial axis to underscore his understanding of space. He created a situation in which residents and visitors can experience space physically, as well as physiologically and psychologically. In the house on North Kings Road, the doors that provide access to a given room are placed diagonally from each other, so that users cross the rooms along the diagonal axis to get to the next room. Because the room widens and narrows along the diagonal axis, users experience both halves of the room like a breathing process that has been externalized into the architecture. My work emphasizes both the diagonal axis and the process of material shifting in relation both to Schindler’s architecture and its inhabitants.

Viewers can be in direct contact with the materiality of my artwork in connection with the construction materials of the house. They can adopt different positions between the two intricate objects reflecting the house’s windows. Viewers can perceive the juxtaposition of the windows, the spatial shifting, and the material substitutions. Viewers can feel like part of the dialogical structure of the work and the architecture as active parties through their position. Exchanging wood with concrete while retaining the intricate structure of Schindler’s window results in both a thematic shift and a thematic condensation, both a relationship of exchange and a relationship of order. The sculpture merely emphasizes what is already there, and its very existence results in a dialogic structure of artwork, viewer, and architecture.

With north kings road // intricate structure, I will explore Rudolph Shindler and Pauline Schindler Gibling’s experimentation with social interaction at the Kings Road House. Rudolph, in consultation with Pauline, designed four workrooms of equal value, for both the male and female residents of the house, as a prerequisite for communal living. At the same time, he shifted the living rooms to play with outdoor space that negotiated both public and private life. The traditional hierarchical order of the nuclear family as a social unit is broken open by Schindler’s design. With his architectonic structure, he encouraged a different encounter between the self and one’s surroundings. In the process, he created a spatial situation that rewrites the typical distribution of gender roles in society and encourages nonhierarchical action in relation to others.

Schindler’s “Manifesto’ (1912) and the writing of Sol Lewitt in “Ziggurats” (1966) are relevant texts to my concept for north kings road // intricate structure. The manifesto is a precise articulation of his ideas in architecture, concerning the relationship between inside and outside, form and material, experience and space. Whereas Schindler focuses on general principles in relation to individual buildings, LeWitt is concerned with the urban structure as a determining factor as well. What Schindler and LeWitt have in common, however, is an interest in intricate patterns that are functional not only in a narrow utilitarian way, but also in an aesthetic way. My work explores a similar understanding of aesthetics by shifting architectural elements sculpturally from one space to another, from a fixed structure to a movable structure, from outside to inside, from architecture to art, thereby questioning our relationship to these elements.


Schindler Lab, online publication, ed. Anthony Carfello, Sara Daleiden, and Kimberli Meyer

Los Angeles: MAK Center for Art and Architecture