One of the Case Study Houses just went on the market, as we noted earlier this week, and today we took the opportunity to step inside the historic home at the open house. Click through for photos of what this circa-1950s house looks like today.
The Case Study Houses were built through an Arts & Architecture project that lasted from 1945 to 1966. Almost all of the homes were built in Los Angeles, and only around twenty remain today, so it's not often that you'll find one on the market. This one is the Bailey House, or Case Study House #21 (PDF), located at 9038 Wonderland Park Ave in the Hollywood Hills, and is said to be architect Pierre Koenig's "greatest steel frame design, and the high point of the Case Study Program." Perhaps that's because Koenig was working with some easy-going homeowners—according to the Los Angeles Conservancy:
He designed it for psychologist Walter Bailey and his wife Mary, a contemporary-minded couple who wanted a small house in the Mid-Century Modern style. Unlike many other homeowners, the Baileys were open to the idea of a steel-framed house, and Koenig was able to realize his vision of an open plan design that was both affordable and beautiful. Completed in 1959, the Bailey House was envisioned as a prototype for modern housing that could be produced on a large scale, perfectly in keeping with the goals of Arts + Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program. It is a simple one-story box with a flat roof, built mostly of steel and glass.
The asking price is $4.5 million, and for that you'll get 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, a pretty cool water feature surrounding the home, and bragging rights.
By May 1958 Koenig had completed his construction drawings and begun collaboration with factories that were capable of producing the prefabricated steelbents. The bulk of construction took place from August to November of the same year, and by January 1959 the house was officially completed.
In February 1959 Case Study House 21 was published in Arts & Architecture and was lauded as “some of the cleanest and most immaculate thinking in the development of the small contemporary house.” As was standard for all CSHP participants, the house was opened to the public for several weeks of viewing.
A year later in 1960, a photographer named Julius Shulman (himself a Case Study client) was invited to photograph the Bailey House. The photographs he took would later become iconic symbols of California Modernism. As one article for L’Uomo Vogue described, Shulman’s architectural photographs of Case Study House #21 and #22 have “an enduring resonance and iconic power. Taken on the eve of America’s involvement in Vietnam they record the last glorious moments of American post-war hegemony and self-confidence and its unquestioned belief in the benefits of progress and technology.”