Marco De Michelis: R.M. Schindler: The Invention of an American Tradition

Talk, Paul Desmarais Theatre, 1 March 2005
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Marco De Michelis: R.M. Schindler: The Invention of an American Tradition

Marco De Michelis speaks about R.M. Schindler’s search for “a modern architectural style based on the American tradition.” Rudolf M. Schindler (1887-1953) moved in 1914 from his native Austria to America where he worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago. After relocating to Los Angeles a few years later, he developed the concept of “space architecture,” a product of not only the European theories by Gottfried Semper, Otto Wagner, and Adolf Loos but also a personal interpretation of Wright’s work as “true American architecture” based on the balance between the house and its environment. His personal search for “a modern architectural style based on the American tradition” found agreement amongst a very selective group of artists, intellectuals, reformers, and dreamers who wanted to create an original and visionary American way of life. They became the passionate clients of Schindler’s American houses.

Marco De Michelis was the Walter Gropius Professor for the History of Architecture at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany until 2003. He was editor of Ottagono from 1989 to 1991, and chief curator at the Triennale in Milan between 1993 and 1996. De Michelis was also a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Berlin and Munich, and a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He has published extensively about modern and contemporary architecture including Heinrich Tessenow (1991), Walter Gropius (1983), Ludwig Hilberseimer (1986), The Bauhaus (1996), Luis Barragán (2003), and Enric Miralles (2002).

Marco De Michelis was a CCA Mellon Senior Fellow in 2005.


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