When Arts & Architecture magazine proposed their Case Study House Program in the mid-1940s, America was finally free of the strictures of World War II, and millions of soldiers were returning home.
In anticipation of a housing boom, the magazine commissioned the design and construction of inexpensive, efficient, aesthetically pleasing residences, with the hopes that they would serve as prototypes for modern housing in the years ahead.
Among the architects included was Pierre Koenig, who designed this 1,300-square-foot steel-and-glass home in 1958 (and oversaw its restoration in 1998). Today it not only represents a seminal expression of Koenig’s style but is also recognized worldwide as a pinnacle of architectural modernism.
Orienting the bedrooms toward the hills and the public rooms outward allowed for streamlined exterior surfaces of sliding glass and opaque steel.
The striking contemporary style belies the home’s utter livability: windows bring the outdoors in, a series of reflecting pools creates a feeling of tranquility, and the movement of light is dynamic, conjuring new and intriguing ambiences throughout the day and night.
With its terraces, abundant glass, water, and skylights Koenig’s design emphasizes a connection between the interior and exterior.
The surrounding pools dramatically mirror the undulating steel and offer a soothing, cooling effect. In addition, roof scuppers were thoughtfully included to recirculate the water.
In 1999, the home was designated as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument, and it is included on the National Register of Historic Places.
This is a rare opportunity to own what can unquestionably be called a residential work of art and a piece of American history.
$4,500,000 | 9038 Wonderland Park, Los Angeles, CA 90046
VIEW MORE LISTING DETAILS
By May 1958 Koenig had completed his construction drawings and begun collaboration with factories that were capable of producing the prefabricated steelbents. The bulk of construction took place from August to November of the same year, and by January 1959 the house was officially completed.
In February 1959 Case Study House 21 was published in Arts & Architecture and was lauded as “some of the cleanest and most immaculate thinking in the development of the small contemporary house.” As was standard for all CSHP participants, the house was opened to the public for several weeks of viewing.
A year later in 1960, a photographer named Julius Shulman (himself a Case Study client) was invited to photograph the Bailey House. The photographs he took would later become iconic symbols of California Modernism. As one article for L’Uomo Vogue described, Shulman’s architectural photographs of Case Study House #21 and #22 have “an enduring resonance and iconic power. Taken on the eve of America’s involvement in Vietnam they record the last glorious moments of American post-war hegemony and self-confidence and its unquestioned belief in the benefits of progress and technology.”