This short insight of our trip to Griffith Park concentrates on the Observatory, opened 1935. Unfortunately there was no possibility to go and see the inside of the Observatory and visit other architecture in Griffith Park.
We saw Griffith Park, especially Observatory a few times during our stay in Los Angeles. It was possible to have a look at them from the basin far away and relativley close at Hollywood Hills . The fact that this park is visible from a lot of different parts of the basin underlines the signifiance of the park for the city.
Arriving at the Observatory we parked our cars at a car park 15 minutes footpath away. We walked a curvy path which directed our attention towards Observatory. The far reaching view over Los Angeles basin opened up while walking around the Observatory like a curtain. This view differed from those we saw in other architecture in the fact that it was framed by nature. Most of the lookouts we had over Los Angeles were framed by buildings from neighborhoods. Compared to the environment of Griffith Park there were no buildings that are on the same level like the Observatory. This framing cause that the observer may feel like he is the only one looking at the city, what indicates a romantic motive. Of course there are a lot more viewpoints in the area with different directions where one find these conditions. Taking the perspective from the basin of Los Angeles one can interprete that the Observatory is enthroned on the peak of Los Angeles. This peak may also be interpreted as a boat which is anchored in front of Los Angeles to invite their inhabitants to have a good time and relax, which was the ambition of Griffith, as well as his desire to make science more accessible to the public. Although this place was more touristic then any other place we visited the last evening watching the sunset was calm und peaceful. Unfortunately it is not possible to come to a decision according to the thesis about the mysticism in Griffith Park. Despite that the atmosphere during dusk and sunset can be interpreted as spherical.
Rudolph M. Schindler, Falk Apartments, 1939/40, Los Angeles
Rudolph M. Schindler designed the Falk Apartments in Los Angeles from 1939-40. The complex is built on a sloping, triangular site which determines the way each apartment is laid out. The site influences how each dwelling relates to the corner site and the hill.
The complex is characterized by a push-and-pull-play of cubistic elements which leads to an intense communication between the interior and exterior spaces. In contrast to the more flat, orthogonal residences Schindler did before the Falk Apartments are concentrated on a more expressionistic, sculptured front. This can be shown by Schindler’s design of the garages. On the one hand they act as brackets/placeholder, which separate street (publicity) and dwelling (privacy) and one individual privacy from another. One the other hand the garages can literally be interpreted as the formative cubistic base of a twisting and turning sculpture expanding in stages to the hill. Schindler made sure that each resident has an individual unobstructed view from the terraces and rooms. Touring the Falk Apartments one might learn how each apartment differs from another and what unifies them. What view do residents enjoy?
While investigating on this building one finds a large quantity of photographs. But it is hard to discover a picture which shows the whole arrangement of the area of Falk Apartments. To really understand how the segments of the Falk Apartments influence on each other and bind together as a coherent whole, one should absolutely go for a walk around this architecture. On our visit at Falk Apartments into which we presumably cannot enter one task should be taking the most overarching photograph as possible and identify problems while doing it.
Hines, Thomas, The Frame for a Life. Rudolf Schindler‘ Discordant Modernism, 1930-1953, in: Thomas Hines, Architecture of the sun. Los Angeles Modernism 1900-1970. New York 2010. S.316-363
Wilson, Richard Guy, Die Metaphysik von Rudolph Schindler, in: Elizabeth A. T. Smith/ Michael Darling, R. M. Schindler, Bauten und Projekte, Ausst. kat. Los Angeles 2001, S. 116-143.