Test your design IQ
() - March 28, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Who was the Austrian-American architect whose inventive designs in and around Los Angeles have placed him as one of the true mavericks of early 20th-century architecture?

He was born on September 10, 1887 in Vienna, Austria to a father who was a wood and metal craftsman, as well as an importer, and a mother who was a dressmaker. He graduated with a degree in architecture at the Wagnersschule of the Vienna Polytechnic University. This was the same year he was introduced to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, who would influence him significantly.

His admiration for Wright would prompt him to move to Chicago, which was the home of the iconic architect. He finally met Wright in 1914, and worked with him, continuing his American operations during the time Wright was in Japan to do the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

He was assigned in Los Angeles to work on the Barnstall House, and did most of the drawings and oversaw the construction of the Hollyhock House. It was also during this time that he designed several private commissions in Los Angeles. This includes what many think is his finest building, the King’s Road House, an office and home for two professional couples in 1922.

His early buildings — like the King’s Road House, Pueblo Ribera Court, Lovell Beach House, Wolfe House, and How House — are chacterized by concrete construction.

The King’s Road House was designed as a studio and home for the architect, his wife, and another couple, and the floor plan worked itself around several L shapes. Features included tilt-up construction panels cast on site, which contrasted with more “open” walls of concrete and glass, and these became the symbol of his architecture.

In his search to create a more inexpensive architecture, he abandoned concrete and turned to the plaster-skin design. This type of construction was characteristic of his work in the 1930s and 1940s, but his interest in form and space never changed. He developed his own self-named platform frame system in 1945, later using this system extensively as a basis for experimentation.

Some of his better known projects were Oliver House, Buck House, Rodakiewicz House, the Bubeshko Apartments and the Mackey Apartments, all built in Los Angeles in the 1930s.

His first major exposure came in Esther McCoy’s Five California Architects in 1960. Although he passed away in 1953, his work is undergoing something of a contemporary evaluation for its inventiveness, character, and formal qualities, which are making his designs familiar to a new generation of architects.

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Last week’s question: Who is the well-known Japanese chef specializing in French cuisine and was named “King of Iron Chefs” after winning the show’s grand finale involving all active Iron Chefs?

Answer: Hiroyuki Sakai

Winner: Louella Santos of Cainta, Rizal

Text your answer to 09053142614 with your name and address. One winner will be chosen through a raffle of texts with the correct answer. The winner will receive P2,000 worth of SM gift certificates for use at Our Home, SM Department Store, or SM Supermarket. They can claim their prize at Our Home in SM Megamall. Call the store manager at 634-1950, 634-1943. Bring photocopies of two valid IDs and a clipping of the Design Quiz issue in which you appear as winner.

BARNSTALL HOUSE BUBESHKO APARTMENTS AND THE MACKEY APARTMENTS BUCK HOUSE DEPARTMENT STORE DESIGN QUIZ FIVE CALIFORNIA ARCHITECTS FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOUSE LOS ANGELES OUR HOME ROAD HOUSE
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