CLEA + AIAS: April 'Stahl House' Visit

Student run organizations on campus are pretty awesome. In architecture, not a lot of students think they have the spare or extra time to step out of studio and be a part of something other than studio. CLEA is a pretty active group. They’ve been having movie screenings on Fridays and on Saturdays, they actually go visit the subject of the cinema.

Last week was the Stahl House by Pierre Konig. CLEA paired up with AIAS. I went.

It was $30 admission, we were only allowed to take a total of 4 vehicles to the home and no professional photography was allowed. Saturday morning, we gathered together at the flagpoles of our campus and made our way through the Hollywood Hills where the famous cantilevered living room soared over Los Angeles.

The view was mesmerizing. Of course, the moment our tour guide lead us through the passage the entire vast city is what we saw. Upon entering, our anxious student-architect eyes scurried around to see the seemingly hanging part of the house. There it was, immediately to the left, a few feet over from the house pool. Even better, from our stance at the entrance door, the photograph hanging in the architecture office was identical to what was before me. The chair, the glass walls, the other furniture, the city behind it. The only thing missing was the people inside. Now, years later, we were to occupy it the way they were once captured years ago by Julius Schulman.

Our tour guide explained to us the details, the history, the rules and with Gerry Smulevichh in the house, all of our questions were answered. As professional photography was not permitted, instagram pics were still allowed and we spent the hour documenting everything we could. As time went on and we put our phones down, the beauty of the place we were at and the view before us became more and more captivating.

Because of the distinct architecture, the experience was more than maybe say doing a long hike in Hollywood for the view. We were invited in to the home of currently the Stahl’s children. There were couches for us to sit on, a kitchen for us to grab water. Something about having the home-experience made the view so much better. As our time was ending, I sat in the living room with Gerry and a few of my closest classmates as if we were at a social or a party together. Enjoying one another’s company, like we normally would, was amplified in that house. The experience was unforgettable. Not to mention, the craft and thought and science that went into the beauty of making this really showed that anything is possible. A great inspiration to future architects and us as designers, my visit to the Stahl House will always be remembered.

This is probably the main perk of studying architecture in L.A. In smaller cities, students watch documentaries of these iconic structures, and that’s it. The experience stops in the classroom, at the television monitor. Got to love L.A., got to love CLEA and AIAS and the Stahl House.

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