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Rafael Soriano: Man of Steel
SAH Tour
Saturday, May 17, 2003

Please join the SAH/SCC and Executive Board Member Sian Winship to explore the architectural legacy of Raphael Soriano. On this residential home tour, we will visit the work of the architect dubbed "a romantic technologist" in Esther McCoy's book "The Second Generation." Tickets for this all-day event are $65 for SAH/SCC members and $75 for non-members. The price includes coach transporatation and a box lunch. Capacity is limited and orders will be processed on a first-come, first served basis.

The day-long Coach tour will explore Soriano\'s fascination with post-War technologies and materials, and their effects on his architecture. A former apprentice of Richard Neutra and a Case Study House architect in his wone right, Soriano developed an extensive body of work spanning three decades (1936-1965). This event will provide a rare opportunity to tour several extant residential works around Los Angeles and to discuss the houses with both scholars and Soriano\'s own contemporaries.

Tour goers will be joined by Wolfgang Wegener, author of the recently published monograph Raphael Soriano (Phaidon, 2002), who will share his insights on Soriano's full body of work and discuss the architect's pioneering contributions to mid-century modernism. Hilde Marshall, close friend and personal assistant to Soriano, will also be on hand to share her memories of the man and his work.

Several homes will be on the tour, including the Lipetz Residence (1936), Strauss Residence (1941). Ebert Residence (1942), Krause Residence (1949-51) and the Schrage Residence (1952). Visits to additional residences may also be included on the tour.

Throughout his career, Soriano studied technological advances in materials an explored their potential contributions to the built environment. Post-World War II, these explorations came to fruition as he began developing an optimal steel structural system for residential use. Steel as a structural component offers architects the ability to construct longer spans and thinner floor plates, giving them opportunity to create more flexible floor plans. In addition to his pioneering use of steel, Soriano developed new uses for many modern materials including aluminum, plywood, and plastic laminates.

Differentiated from contemporaries Gregory Ain and Harwell Hamilton Harris, Soriano was noted as "the strongest modern purist - the one who worked most faithfully within the stylistic confines of the International Style," according to David Gebhard and Harriette Von Breton in their book "Los Angeles in the Thirties."

Widely hailed by his contemporaries, Soriano's work was included in several national and international architecture exhibitions. The Lipetz Residence was chosen as one of three buildings to be presented in the American Pavilion at the Paris Exposition in 1937. Over his lifetime, Soriano received three national AIA awards, and seven AIA awards from local chapters.

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