Case Study House #22 Aka Stahl House

The Stahl House, aka Case Study House #22, is a modernist styled house in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, California that was designed by Pierre Koenig. Photographic and anecdotal evidence suggests that the architect's client, Buck Stahl, may have provided an inspiration for the overall structure. Built in 1959 and part of the Case Study Houses program, the house is considered an iconic representation of modern architecture in Los Angeles during the 20th century. It was made famous by a photograph by Julius Shulman showing two women leisurely sitting at a corner of the house with a panoramic view of the city through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls at night. The house was, and is, used in numerous fashion shoots, ad campaigns and five films. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed the Stahl House (#140) as one of the top 150 structures on its "America's Favorite Architecture" list, one of only 11 in Southern California, and the only privately owned home on the list.

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Case Study House #22

If you want to know anything at all about Case Study Houses you must get Taschen’s reissue of Arts & Architecture 1945–1949 magazine. To break it down simply, the Case Study Houses were an experiment sponsored by Arts & Architecture Magazine (now defunct). The idea was to hire some of the most forward thinking architects in design and functionality to build sample modern homes. The program, which ran intermittently from 1945 until 1966, included starchitects Richard Neutra, Charles Eames, Craig Ellwood, Eero Saarinen, and Pierre Koenig. Most of the houses (except one in Phoenix) were built in Los Angeles. Enter the absolutely stunning Case Study House #22 (AKA The Stahl House), designed by Pierre Koenig.

The Stahl House is perched at the top of the Hollywood Hills, above Sunset Boulevard, and has views from the Pacific Ocean to downtown. DROOL. It is probably one of the most photographed houses in the world, but most notably documented by Julius Shulman in 1960. And therefore, my photos don’t do this spectacular architectural specimen the justice it deserves.

Although built in 1959, the Stahl House wasn’t declared a Historic-Cultural landmark until 1999. Not sure what the heck took so long. But I digress. The house is a cinematic beauty and has been featured in a number of films and TV shows, including Corrina, Corrina, Playing By Heart, Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Galaxy Quest, Adam 12 and The Rockford Files. But if you want to see the house in person you can (and should!) because the Stahl family offers tours of the property on a regular basis.

The views clearly do not suck — even on the blistering cold and windy day that my mom and I visited (and yes, it really does get cold in LA). It was hard not to hear The Mamas & The Papas “California Dreamin” playing in my head as I sat in the living room staring out of the floor to ceiling glass windows that cover the majority of the house. No walls to hang art here!

But honestly, who needs art when this is your view?

All the leaves are brown 
And the sky is grey 
I’ve been for a walk 
On a winter’s day

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