I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many legends and visit many astonishing homes, but nothing thrills me more than a trip to L.A.’s iconic Stahl House. The structure may be more famous for its breathtaking view of the Sunset Strip, its immaculate midcentury design, and its oft-photographed pool, which is perched on the edge of a cliff, but I love it for another reason, too: It’s living history.
I’ve always longed for a time machine that could take me back to when L.A.’s long-gone theme parks, drive-ins, and roller rinks were still around. So many of the buildings I admired growing up have been drastically transformed. The city around the Stahl House has changed, but the house itself has not.
Clarence “Buck” Stahl had the original idea for the home. After purchasing the lot on which it sits for $13,000 in 1954, he began, along with his wife, Carlotta, to search for the perfect architect to realize his vision. More than one architect the Stahls met with insisted their dream could not be executed. Pierre Koenig disagreed. The young, energetic architect took on the project in 1959.
Today, the home is known as Case Study House #22. That’s because it became the 22nd of 27 homes to be a part of Arts & Architecture’s famous Case Study series, which commissioned emerging modernist architecture in Southern California. Homes designed by Raphael Soriano, Charles Eames, Craig Ellwood, Richard Neutra, and Eero Saarinen were also part of the project, but the Stahl House has become the most recognizable of the Case Study houses. It embodied the home of the future. […]