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Our First Modern Patron

It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of modern patron and SAH/SCC Life Member Adolph Tischler. Tischler commissioned Viennese modern architect Rudolph Schindler to design his iconic 1950 residence in Westwood, which would be one of the architect’s last commissions prior to his passing in 1953.

Tischler, an artist, graphic designer, and industrial designer, opened his home to SAH/SCC in 1997 for our “Exiles and Émigrés” tour, and again in 2000 for the debut installment of SAH/SCC’s “Modern Patrons” series.

In aLos Angeles Timesarticle from 1993, Tischler described his initial meeting with Schindler. “After speaking with several prominent architects, we decided on Schindler. When I first visited him alone at his home office, I had this wonderful feeling about the place and thought, ‘This is the architect for us.’”

Tischler remembered, “Schindler was easy to get along with, as long as you agreed with him. Each house he did had to be representative of his work. He liked to experiment and some of his experiments were not revealed until the client saw them in place. One such experiment was proposed for our house: a translucent blue fiberglass material on part of our roof. We were concerned, but Schindler assured us it would be fine. We decided to reserve judgment until we saw the material. This was one of those times when the client didn’t get to see the material until it was in place.”

Tischler’s comment on Schindler’s experiment was succinct: “The fiberglass roof was a disaster.” According to this modern patron, “Everything inside the house looked blue, including people, and the heat came through with a vengeance.”

Moreover, the roof leaked everywhere. “It was a difficult time,” Tischler remembered. “The heat was unbearable and the only way to keep dry was to use an umbrella inside the house.”

The heat and blue tint problem continued for three years. The situation was finally alleviated by adding panels of plywood inside the house across the entire upper two thirds of the vaulted ceiling, reducing the visible portion of the fiberglass roof inside the house to the lower third of each panel. “People no longer looked blue,” Tischler remembered. “And the house was no hotter than other houses with large glass areas.”

Tischler, however, had no buyer’s remorse. “When all was said and done,” the owner remarked, “we had something really special.”

Clearly, Adolph Tischler was a special client. And one who was rewarded with a home that fed his creative sensibilities until he was 98 years old. That is the power of modern architecture.

Sian Winship

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