Pierre Koenig’s modern materials
There are few images of 20th-century architecture more iconic than the nighttime view of Case Study House #22. At its eagle’s nest promontory above Los Angeles, the building is a vision of streamlined glass and steel, its slick lines echoing the twinkling city boulevards below. With this and his other equally innovative build for the famous project of the Arts & Architecture magazine, American architect Pierre Koenig (1925–2004) became one of the leading figures of the Modern movement.
While still a student of architecture, Koenig designed and built his first exposed steel house in 1950, proving that the use of prefabricated materials could allow for spatial freedom in affordable houses. Throughout his career, he would champion socially responsible design, as well as buildings that responded deftly and directly to the Southern California climate. Through windows, water, terraces, skylights, and glazing, his buildings optimized the rapport between inside and outside, while aiming for a simplistic purity of appearance.
Through all of Koenig’s major projects, including the Johnson House (1962) and Oberman House (1962), this book introduces an architect who was pioneering in method and material and iconic of his time, as fueled by experimentalism as the postwar optimism of the age.
Neil Jackson is an architect and architectural historian who has written extensively on modern architecture in California, where he taught between 1985 and 1990. His 2002 book Craig Ellwood won the Sir Banister Fletcher Award in 2003. His study of Pierre Koenig is the result of a long friendship and a mark of respect for a great architect. Jackson currently teaches at the University of Liverpool.The editor
Peter Gössel runs an agency for museum and exhibition design. He has published TASCHEN monographs on Julius Shulman, R. M. Schindler, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra, as well as several titles in the Basic Architecture series.
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