12.5.2011 Seeing is Believing … and Understanding It’s one thing to read about it but there’s nothing like seeing it in person. Brindan Byrne, Furniture Design instructor knows this which is why on November twelfth she loaded a van full of students and headed up to LA to see three houses designed by Rudolf Schindler: The Mackey Penthouse, The Schindler House and The Fitzpatrick Leland House. Schindler is best known for his role in the modernist movement, his use of raw materials and his collaborations with Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra. His designs force even the least interested person to stop and take notice of the space. The Schindler House in particular made an impression on everyone. It was built in 1922, inspired by the idea of a permanent campground, and was designed as a live-work space for two couples. This experimental living style included rooftop bedrooms without any solid walls and two outdoor fireplaces that served as the kitchen. As Brindan put it, “When they’re talking about an open kitchen, they’re not kidding!” Having been built before sliding glass doors, Schindler used canvas which let in the light and he jimmy rigged a version of the first track lighting. Brindan explained that it encompasses “the whole idea of camping: the canvas doors and open floor plan, the way the light goes through there. I never got that from any photograph. Seeing the space and getting that visual imprint is so important for our visual literacy.” Is there any better way for budding designers to get inspired? Seeing, feeling and being engulfed by forward thinking and historical spaces is vital to a well rounded understanding of space. The magnitude of this was not lost on the students. “I needed to see it.” DI student Heather Young stated, “I learned about the Schindler house in 20th Century Architecture and to be here, walking through it, you really get to experience what the architect was envisioning which is important to me. You just learn so much.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!