Los Angeles: Stahl House

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If the number of pictures reflected how much any work of architecture has left a mark on my journey through life, then the Stahl House would certainly come to the top of the list. Its almost as if this house was created before its time, before the internet, before social media, before selfies- it literally is so photogenic it hardly knows what to do with itself.

Although I haven’t read about it much, our guide for this sunset “tour” of the house (its so small, its hardly worth calling a tour) dropped various tidbits of information along the way. That the house was meant to use no custom materials and meant to be low cost as was the purpose of the “Case Study Houses”. That Mr. Stahl refused to erect any fencing that would block the view, only to install the “baby catcher” fence 10 feet down the hill so that his toddlers wouldn’t face imminent death. That the house will likely go up for sale (!!!!).

For many personal reasons, this was probably the 2nd true cathartic moment for me linked to a piece of architecture. The first was the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Stahl House being the second.

I knew it had to be great- perched on a cliff, open layout, mid modern century aesthetic- it was the peak of west coast architecture. And it was beyond great- I actually had to hug it. I felt such gratitude to those so committed to their vision- to pursuing an art and function as defined by architecture. A right for all man kind to have shelter- and shelter which in theory, could be accessible to all.

I’m curious as to why these low cost, prefab type of moments rarely pick up enough speed to see it applied in urban planning- perhaps this aesthetic actually isn’t for everyone. Fair enough.

I don’t regret for a minute, making the trek to visit this house, to have that moment where nothing else mattered- to see the whole world below from a place where design and principle mattered most. I guess like going to the holy land or going to church- not religious but enlightening.

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The extra cost to visit at sunset is well worth it. Plan ahead and tickets always seem sold out. Thank you Mr. Stahl for creating this amazing moment.

Website: Stahl House

Address: 1635 Woods Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90069

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