RUDOLF MICHAEL SCHINDLER (1887-1953)
Schindler was born to a middle class family in Vienna, Austria. He attended the Imperial and Royal High School from 1899 to 1906 then enrolled in the Wagnersschule of Vienna Polytechnic University, graduating in 1911 with a degree in architecture. Schindler worked for Hans and Theodore Mayer from 1911 to 1914.
Encouraged by fellow Austrian architect Adolph Loos, Schindler moved to Chicago in 1914 to work for Ottenheimer Stern and Reichert. In 1916, he delivered 12 elaborate lectures at the Church School of Design in Chicago which became known as the Schindler “Program,” his central design philosophy.
Schindler always wanted to work for Frank Lloyd Wright and in late 1918 Wright hired him. After obtaining the commission for the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, a major project that involved being in Japan for several years, Schindler was promoted to run Wright’s American operations out of the Oak Park IL studio.
In 1919, Schindler met and married Pauline Gibling (1893-1977) and in 1920 Wright sent Schindler to Los Angeles to work on the Aline Barnsdall House.
Beyond his job for Wright, Schindler started his own independent practice in Los Angeles in 1922. Because of this issue and the two men’s massive egos, Schindler and Wright argued frequently and the two eventually separated as architects.
Richard Neutra worked for Wright in 1924 at Taliesin East but left after a few months to work in California with Schindler. Neutra shared space in Schindler’s house with their wives. Their firm was called Schindler and Neutra, then later AGIC (the Architectural Group for Industry and Commerce).
Neutra split from Schindler when Neutra got a larger commission from one of Schindler’s best clients, Philip Lovell. They rarely interacted after that, and the Neutras moved out. When Neutra had a heart attack in 1953, he found himself in the same hospital room as Schindler who was dying of cancer. According to Neutra’s sons, Neutra and Schindler made their peace before Schindler died.
Philip Johnson famously rejected Schindler’s inclusion in the 1932 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art because he felt Schindler was outside the International Style. Schindler responded by rejecting the categorizing of his designs into any style.
The Schindlers divorced in the 1930’s, however Pauline Schindler returned to the Kings Road house after a few years and stayed there until her death in 1977. They had one son, Mark.