Reviews - What do customers think about R. M. Schindler: 1887-1953; An Exploration of Space (Taschen Basic Art Series)?
Update for previous review Mar 23, 2003
It has been about 3 years since I wrote the first review for this book on this site.com. In that time there have been some new, and I feel better publications about R. M. Schindler
The most comprehensive Text is Judith Sheine's book (entitled R. M. Schindler) published by Phaidon. Please see my review for more details. Sheine is also the editor and narrator for two CD-ROMs produced by Planet Architecture. These are both excellent sources. Lastly is the lavishly photographed catalog for the Schindler Exhibit entitled The architecture of R. M. Schindler by Elizabeth A.T. Smith. This has good essays and photos although I feel is better as supplementry text to Sheine's new book
Nice photos, light in content Apr 20, 2000
I am an avid fan of this master architect/builder and I am pleased to see that Shindler is finally getting the attention he deserves. There is an abundance of material about Schindler now available to the public. Whereas, just ten years ago only a few books were available about Schindler (Gebhard and McCoy). This is a large format book with lavish color photos. Early books on Schindler, such as those by Gebhard, McCoy, and Sarnitz were small in format and contained equally small black and white images.
This book is divided into two parts: Essay and Selected Works. The essay, by noted California Author/Historian James Steele assumes that the reader has some familiarity with Schindler and the Wagnerschul. The author skips over biographical data on the architect, such as birth, upbringing, family life etc. and instead presents the reader with a concise, competent essay on Schidler's place in Early Twentieth Century architecture. The essay shows how Schindler was influenced by his mentors and peers such as Loos, Wright, Nuetra, and Irving Gill. It also touches on Schindler's rejection from Johnson and Hitchcock's International Style exhibit.
The second part of the book - selected works - presents the reader with thirty-two of the architect's built works in a chronological order. The selected projects include twenty-five houses, six apartment buildings/complexes and a Baptist church. Each work contains a brief description. About half the projects contain color photos. These appear to be recent photos and include many interior shots. Some projects, such as the Kings Road House and the Wolfe Residence contain reproduced color drawings (plans, sections, elevations) There are also a few renderings, color and b/w. Other projects are, disappointedly, not given proper attention. The Lovell Beach House, considered by many to be Schindler's masterpiece does not have the plans and section that are so essential to the understanding of this seminal structure. One project, The Grokowski Residence, contains only one, small black and white photo - not sufficient to give an adequate description.
The book also contains a map of L.A. with the architect's projects pin-pointed and a brief biography at the end. There is no bibliography that could point the serious scholar to additional sources, nor does the book contain any of Schindler's writings.
THE BOTTOM LINE This book contains nice color photos - some apparently previously unpublished, some good graphic resources. It is not a deep book, however it can be a nice compliment to previously published work on this master architect/builder.