A group exhibition of Landscape Architecture at the Schindler House
Co-curated by Mia Lehrer and Priscilla Fraser
California’s drought is a domestic challenge, to be taken on at the level of each front and back yard throughout the state’s neighborhoods, subdivisions, and cul-de-sacs. LUSH, the exhibition, began as an invitational charrette project that uses the MAK Center’s Fitzpatrick-Leland House (R.M. Schindler, 1936) in Laurel Canyon to ask leading landscape architects across Los Angeles to consider solutions both radical and practical.
Built on spec for real estate developer Clifton Fitzpatrick, the house embodies many of the views that characterize the building of California in the mid-twentieth century. Prior to construction, there were no houses in this area; the land was too steep and dry, and only supported the grazing of goats. It was modern architecture and the new understanding of modernist living through technology that made people even consider this land as habitable. It’s a short connection from there to sprawling suburbs where green lawns grow in desert climates. The Fitzpatrick-Leland House itself was initially landscaped with dozens of yards of sod; twenty years later a swimming pool was added that still remains. In other words, the house has much in common with the majority of SoCal houses; it therefore offers an opportunity to use the rarified site of a Schindler building to reconsider the role of the private residential landscape in the face of current water crises.
In partnership with Mia Lehrer & Associates, the MAK Center selected a group of landscape architects, designers, and collectives to propose interrogations into the history of SoCal domestic design and crucial experimentations toward the sustainability of its future. While these final projects all grew from the yard of the Fitzpatrick-Leland House, they now range from almanacs of imagined horticultural histories to virtual recreations of dystopian pleasure gardens.
Following the invited call for proposals, charrette process, and jury symposium, which included artist Freyja Bardell, LA Times writer Lisa Boone, Heidi Creighton of Buro Happold, Heather Roberge of Murmur, and Andy Wilcox of Cal Poly Pomona, the five exhibiting teams are:
Landscape Studio I Bestor Architecture: Michelle Frier with artist Aaron Farley and composer Randy Randall
SALT Landscape Architects: Allen Compton, Lauren Hammer, Jamie Heitner, Sarah Lindell, and Mike Tramutola
Superjacent: Tony Paradowski, Christopher Torres, and Kelly Majewski
Terremoto: David Godshall, Jenny Jones, Diego Lopez, and Erik Schmahl
LUSH will be the inaugural show in a new Summer Charrette Series which the MAK Center will host every year as an invited competition to develop an exhibition that examines the current state of residential design. R.M. Schindler defined the Californian residential garden with his 1922 indoor/outdoor design for the Kings Road House; this exhibition seeks to redefine that landscape for the twenty-first century and beyond.
This exhibition is kindly supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.