Thursday, September 20

The Photographic Memory of Julius Shulman



Shulman is seen here in his Hollywood Hills home. The photographer’s new three-volume set is drawn from his extensive archive, which contains more than 260,000 images.

John Ellis for Metropolis



Circa Early 1950s
GREGORY AIN
Wilfong Residence

“Ain worked on this house with Joseph Johnson and Alfred Day,” Shulman says. “Gregory was one of the most innovative and creative architects of his era, but he never sought publicity. I began my work in the mid-thirties and met him through Neutra. After he left his apprenticeship with Neutra, he was more
into low-cost affordable housing—something he was involved with throughout his career. If I were to place Ain’s contribution to the advancement of Modern architecture, he would rank as one of the best of everyone I knew.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen


1962
BERNARD JUDGE
Judge Residence

“Bernard Judge, who created this domed house in the Hollywood Hills, was a great admirer of Buckminster Fuller’s triangular forms,” Shulman says. “This house looked ideal at night. It was like being inside a giant soap bubble. It was beautiful, but it didn’t exercise any means of controlling the heat coming through the top. So Judge tried to make a layer of fabric over the top part of the dome, but that didn’t give insulation throughout the rest of the house, so they added openings in the glass.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen


1950
PAOLO SOLERI and MARK MILLS
Woods Residence

“This aluminum-and-glass house incorporates passive-heating and -cooling principles,” Shulman says. “It was built in Cave Creek, Arizona, and designed by Soleri and Mills, two apprentices of Frank Lloyd Wright’s at Taliesin West in the 1940s. The dome had two sliding tracks, one with glass, the other with screens. So there were really two domes, one over another. On a hot day you would slide the glass around to the other side, leaving the screens to admit the air, providing climate and insect control.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen


1947
RICHARD NEUTRA
Kaufmann Residence

Shulman first photographed this Palm Springs house in March 1947. “I was looking outside toward twilight, and the desert was aglow with that wonderful alpine blue light,” he recalls. “I ran back in the house, got my camera, and told Neutra and Kaufmann that they would enjoy looking at the house and the twilight toward the mountains. So I ran outside ahead of them, held my camera, and by the time I was ready to make an exposure they had come out and seen the view. Mr. Kaufmann said, ‘I’ve never seen that house before at twilight. It’s beautiful.’ Later the black-and-white photo became the most widely published of all Neutra houses.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen



1947
RICHARD NEUTRA
Kaufmann Residence

Shulman first photographed this Palm Springs house in March 1947. “I was looking outside toward twilight, and the desert was aglow with that wonderful alpine blue light,” he recalls. “I ran back in the house, got my camera, and told Neutra and Kaufmann that they would enjoy looking at the house and the twilight toward the mountains. So I ran outside ahead of them, held my camera, and by the time I was ready to make an exposure they had come out and seen the view. Mr. Kaufmann said, ‘I’ve never seen that house before at twilight. It’s beautiful.’ Later the black-and-white photo became the most widely published of all Neutra houses.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen



1965
ALBERT FREY
Frey Residence II

“When Frey bought the property up in the hills above Palm Springs, there were no houses up there at all, just a lot of huge boulders,” Shulman says. “Frey’s excavation man looked at the property and told Albert that there was a mammoth boulder right on the site and that he’d have to dynamite it away, and Albert said, ‘Oh no. I’m going to build my master bedroom and part of the living area there. I want that boulder to be part of my room.’ And he left the boulder in the middle of the house. It’s delightful. It works. It’s not anything special architecturally, but it’s beautifully suited to the site.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen


1950
CHARLES EAMES and EERO SAARINEN
Entenza Residence

John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture, founded the experimental architectural program that resulted in the famous Case Study Houses built in and around Los Angeles in the 1950s. “The architects Entenza selected were good, such as Ed Killingsworth and Buff Straub & Hensman, but they weren’t doing anything innovative,” Shulman says. “I suggested, as other people did, that Entenza would have been better off if he’d selected men like Gregory Ain, but he didn’t like Ain because he was too liberal and even condemned him as being a communist because he was doing houses for liberal people!”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen


1956
RAPHAEL SORIANO
Krause Residence

Soriano refused to use screens in the houses he designed, expecting the sliding doors to be left open at night. “Soriano did my house in the Hollywood Hills—a glass box with a magnificent orientation,” Shulman says. “I told him either we have screens, or we don’t have you design my house. So he designed three screened areas, and the house functions perfectly. I planted a jungle of trees—which now includes a huge 85-foot redwood—and made Soriano look good.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen


1960
FRANK GEHRY
Steeves Residence

The second house in Los Angeles designed by Frank Gehry was a collaboration with Greg Walsh, one of his classmates from the University of Southern California. “Frank began his career studying ceramics at USC,” Shulman says. “His professor took him to see one of Soriano’s houses, and he admired it so much he switched from ceramics to architecture. This house was influenced
by Schindler as much as, maybe more so than, by Soriano.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen

1960
PIERRE KOENIG
Stahl Residence

“The Stahls purchased a piece of property on a steep hillside with a 270-degree view of Los Angeles,” Shulman says. “Some people might not want to build on such a difficult lot, but Pierre agreed to design a house for them. The house, known as Case Study House #22, hangs over the edge of the cliff, and when it was published it created a sensation. It’s been in nearly every architectural book and magazine throughout the world since 1960. So in approaching the image, I thought: How to best portray this structure and its relationship, interior and exterior, to the site and function of the house? You see the view, the sitting room. This is how the house functions. To achieve the picture of this projecting steel beam in the foreground that directs attention into and through the entire house—to demonstrate how the house literally floats in space—I sat on a wall outside. The key to a successful photograph is about finding the proper balance of light, using it properly, and finding the right time
of day. My photographs are successful because the architecture melds
so beautifully with the environment.”

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen



A photograph by Julius Shulman of the Agustín Hernández studio in Mexico City included in Taschen’s Modernism Rediscovered, due out next month. The concrete tower contains a library, a conference room, and a studio space.

Julius Shulman, Courtesy Taschen

The legendary image-maker talks about the Case Study Houses and the real roots of green design.

By Paul Makovsky


On the eve of his 97th birthday, Julius Shulman—the éminence grise of architectural photography—is excited about Modernism Rediscovered, his new three-volume set from Taschen featuring more than 400 architectural projects taken over a seven-decade career. Think of any significant Modern building in Southern California and chances are that Shulman has documented it at one stage in his career. His photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #22, the one with the two girls looking over the Hollywood Hills, has arguably become the most widely published image in the history of architecture. Ask him about an iconic house and he’s not likely to talk about its aesthetics—the way most midcentury Modern architecture is fetishized today—but to focus instead on its innate connection between indoors and out. “The reason why this architecture photographs so beautifully is the environmental consideration exercised by the architects,” Shulman says. “It was the sense that here we have beautiful canyons, hillsides, views of the ocean. Everyone loves these photographs because the houses are environmentally involved, and this was before the emphasis on what everyone is calling green.”

Shulman began his career in 1936 when he photographed a Richard Neutra house with a vest-pocket camera. He quickly moved on to shoot the work of many prominent architects who later became friends: Rudolf Schindler, Raphael Soriano, Gregory Ain, to name just a few. Shulman remains enthusiastic about architecture (Leo Marmol and Steve Ehrlich are just two of his contemporary favorites), but he’s a little perplexed by the current mania for all things sustainable. “We’ve always had green—those of us who are concerned with the environment,” he says. “So why should we suddenly discover that green is good?” When asked why Koenig never talked about his architecture as sustainable, Shulman says, “In the fifties and sixties it was done automatically. The term green meant you related to the environment. That’s all green means: you are the environment.”

via Metropolis

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