A Los Angeles apartment building designed by modernist architect Rudolph Schindler has been updated by local firm Enclosures Architects to provide accommodation for its owners as well as short-term stays.
Tash Rahbar and Scott Strumwasser of the firm were enlisted to restore the sixteen-unit complex Manola Court, which Austrian-born American architect Schindler completed in Los Angeles between 1926 and 1939.
Schindler, who is a celebrated modernist architect, designed Manola Court to step down a sloping lot in the Silver Lake neighbourhood. The building's features were intended to suit California's hot climate, including a white, concrete construction, outdoor walkways and patios, and numerous custom details.
The property, also known as the Sachs Apartments, had fallen into disrepair over the decades since its completion. It was purchased in 2013 by its current owner Paul Finegold, who sought to revive the design.
Enclosures Architects began by surveying the site and the building, finding its foundation was in need of substantial work.
"The condition of the buildings was very poor," Rahbar and Strumwasser told Dezeen.
"Rotted lumber, poorly conceived remodels, missing or damaged cabinetry, leaky roofs and dangerous electrical conditions is the short list of the items that needed attention."
The studio gathered plans and elevations, performed extensive forensic work, and researched the building's history and Schindler's other works in the area. They also visited Schindler's archives at the University of California at Santa Barbara to collect data for the project.
Regarding the exteriors, foundations were bolstered and framing members added to make the structure safe. A comprehensive drainage system was added by Terremoto, the project's landscape architect.
Five units have been restored, after undergoing much structural support and interior work. Original cabinetry, finishes, and Schindler-designed furniture were preserved and re-created wherever possible.
"At every point, any of this work was always coordinated in a way to preserve the building historic character and maintain the original facades," Rahbar and Strumwasser said.
Inside, each apartment is designed in a unique way with different floorplans, materials, and Schindler-designed components. Dark wood beams line a ceiling in a living room while wood clads an entire bedroom. Elsewhere, lightwood features on a ceiling in a living area and cabinetry in another kitchen, while other cupboards are off-white.
The interior design was led by Sarah Brady and her partner Becky Golino of local studio Platform Home, which selected all of the furniture, art and accessories. The two sought to enhance the historical significance of the building, as well as the unique spatial characteristics of each unit.
"The architecture of the spaces feels pared down at first glance, when in fact it's rich with meticulous detail that draws you in and creates a sense of intimacy," Brady told Dezeen. "We wanted that to be the throughline of the project and furnish the spaces in a way that drew from that philosophy."
The majority of the residences feature white walls, light wood floors and numerous built-ins. Modernist furniture, colourful textiles and plants bring the units to life.
Manola Court, which is accessible from two streets, Edgecliffe Drive to Lucile Avenue, comprises two renovated apartments that serve as residences for Paul Finegold and his niece Hannah.
Another is available for short-term stays through Live to Give LA, and proceeds from the stays support research for rare blood-related diseases, which Finegold's wife passed away from in 2017 before the restoration was completed.
Another one of Schindler's apartments was restored nearby, Bubeshko Apartments, by local architecture firm DSH in 2016.
Schindler was born in Vienna in 1877 to a Jewish family and went on to study architecture in the city where he met his lifelong friend and celebrated architect Richard Neutra. The two moved to Los Angeles where they set up practices and became known for their modernist designs.
Schindler's own home in West Hollywood was at one point shared with Neutra and his family, and the house is open to the public and managed by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.
Another iconic modernist house in Los Angeles to be recently restored is the Eames house in the Pacific Palisades, whose recent preservation is complete with a comprehensive guide for maintaining the historic property.
Photography is by Virtually Here Studios unless stated otherwise.