At the end of a narrow road, on a hill above Hollywood, sits an iconic modernist building known as the Stahl House, or for architect aficionados it’s simply ‘Case Study House number 22’.
The Case Study program was initiated in January 1945 by then editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, John Entenza. The program, sponsored by the magazine, became a major force in promoting modernist architecture and featured houses built by Charles & Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Pierre Koenig.
Our story of the Stahl House begins with Buck and his wife Carlotta buying a plot that was deemed impossible to build on back in 1954. After creating a model of the house of their dreams, Mr Stahl went around to different architects pitching their idea. Everyone said no, until he stepped into the office of a young architect called Pierre Koenig. It’s Pierre Koenig we have to thank for the realisation of the Stahl House, but he was also the one who made sure that it was included in the Case Study House program and received its number; 22.
In 1960 it was completed, after only a few months of construction, due to the use of simple industrial materials such as steel and glass. The two bedroom house was never meant to have a pool, but after being advised by a developer that it would increase the value of the property, they added one at the last minute. Since then the Stahl Family have carefully looked after ‘our case study house’, as Carlotta often referred to it and many generous offers reaching above the $20 million mark have never been accepted. All of which is lucky for us, because today you can visit the Stahl House and see how the children who grew up there used it as their family home. And, if you’re really lucky, they will be there on the day of your visit and answer your burning questions about it.
To visit the house you have to pre-book through the official website and you will get one whole hour to explore the place at your leisure – more than enough for this modest property. During that time, you can recreate the iconic photos that Julius Schulman took of the house, take in the view of Los Angeles and simply sit down in the living room, with it’s 270-degree panorama, and pretend that it’s yours for a second. After all, it was a dream that built this house, so dreaming within it is very much encouraged.