Purviance Residence, Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #844
Built: 1922 Declared: 06/21/2006
This unusual house was designed by the Viennese-born modernist architect Rudolf M. Schindler, who had recently come to Los Angeles to complete work for Frank Lloyd Wright on the Hollyhock House and the other Wright-designed buildings in what is now Barnsdall Park. Ever an innovator, Schindler perfected a method of slab-cast concrete for building the walls of a structure. Although several designs were made with the slab-cast technique, only two were believed to have been executed, the Pueblo-Rivera Courts in La Jolla (1923-24), and the How House in Silverlake (1925-26). The Purviance Residence was discovered in 2005, and the garage portion at the rear of the house, built in late 1922, pre-dates Pueblo-Rivera by almost a year, and is Schindler’s earliest-built example of the slab-cast technique. A dispute between Schindler and his client, Willis E. Purviance, resulted in the house having a pressed-brick facade in the front section. Purviance was the president of the California State Chiropractic Society, an organization that had been heavily responsible for having the chiropractic discipline officially recognized in California through a ballot initiative in 1922. This house was one of Schindler’s very first solo commissions and was one of only a handful of buildings that displays the craftsmanship of Clyde M. Chase, who had been the contractor for Schindler’s own home in West Hollywood, and later worked on Pueblo Rivera before moving to Florida. Schindler’s career continued until his death in 1953 and gives Los Angeles a rich heritage in modern design through both his own work and his influence on others that were to follow him.