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RM Schindler’s Rose Harris House, 1942, Analysis completed, part 5 of 5

A few final thoughts


The only furniture Rose needed to buy for this house was the bed (which could have been built by Schindler for all I know) and the piano. All the other furniture is built-in, mostly of plywood. (Figures 1 and 2). The furniture shapes the space and is part of the design.

The plywood wainscot in the living room runs from the fireplace, behind the couch and dining area, then takes a Schindler notch around the kitchen pass-through. It reminds me of the front elevation.

The green roofing wrapped pop-out below the bedroom window contains a planter box and a built-in dresser for the bedroom (Fig 3).

RM Schindler’s Rose Harris House 1942, Analysis continued – part 4 of 5

Some more thoughts


As usual, Schindler creates a world with three roof/ceiling planes (Figure 1). Here the planes are 6’-8”, 8’-0” and 8’-8” high. The first two heights are typical, appearing in most of Schindler’s houses, particularly in his later Schindler Frame Houses. The third 8’-8” plane is unusually low, reflecting the modest budget and small size of the house.

The steps in the ceiling never occur over a wall,  but are offset about 2’-8”. Almost every room has a step in the ceiling. Even the bathroom has a ceiling step, although the room is so small that it would be difficult to see (Fig 2). The steps make the spaces within each room more dynamic and imply spaces that flow through the walls, somewhat like the Erlik house but without the high glass. The ceilings step up to the rear, but also on a diagonal towards the living room southwest corner, making the living room the tallest (8’-8”) space (Fig 3).

RM Schindler’s Erlik House, 1950-51

I made this model when I saw photos of the recently restored home, photos that made me want to understand the design. 

This is a late, and relatively unknown, gem designed by architect R.M. Schindler, Los Angeles, 1950-1951.

A small house, a small budget and a difficult site. Schindler managed to use these limitations to make a wonderful “space box”.

I made the model using the information I could find: small floor plans, old and new photos, Schindler’s writings on his systems of construction and dimensions. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit the house.

Images from top to bottom are: front, rear, interior cross section (looking into the Master and Living rooms) and a space volume study

The space volume study shows how the different volumes (formed by different ceiling heights) slide over and do not match the functional spaces below. Ceiling heights step from lowest in blue to highest in purple. Glass is carefully placed so you can see the volumes continuing from room to room. Intricate cabinets/space dividers separate Living from Master, allowing the space to flow between rooms while maintaining privacy.