Rudolph Schindler spent time in the Frank Lloyd Wright program as an intern and project manager in Wisconsin as well as in California. The time Schindler spent in Los Angeles helped the Austrian immigrant decide that the Southern California weather and his maturing design vision were a good fit.
During Schindler’s effort to secure his architecture license, he used his time with the Wright Studio as a source of experience and asked Wright to write a letter to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) attesting to his internship time with Taliesin East. Wright was curiously being difficult regarding Schindler’s desire for licensing. A number of letters went back and forth between Schindler and Wright. “My dear Rudolph Schindler:…I am in receipt of a letter from the Board asking if you had made designs for me. The answer to that is, —No you didn’t. Nobody makes designs for me. Sometimes if they are in luck, or rather if I am in luck, they make them with me…Nevertheless, I believe that you now are competent to design exceedingly good buildings. I believe that anything you would design would take rank in the new work being done in the country as worthy of respect…He has built quite a number of buildings in and around Los Angeles that seems to be admirable from the standpoint of design, and I have not heard of any of them falling down…Personally, I appreciate Rudolph. He is an incorrigible Bohemian and refuses to allow the Los Angeles barber to apply the razor to the scruff of his neck. He also has peculiarly simple and effective ideas regarding his own personal conduct. I believe, however, that he is capable as an artist. I have found him a too complacent and therefore a rotten superintendent. The buildings that he has recently built in Los Angeles are well designed, but badly executed. I suspect him of trying to give his clients too much for their money. I should say that was his extreme fault in these circumstances of endeavoring to build buildings.”
What are your thoughts on Wright’s somewhat reckless boldness in his letters of support for Schindler and the overall general tone of temerity? Wright certainly could see and recognize that Schindler had an emerging vision of Architecture that was unique and spoke to the new time and context. How would you account for Wright’s rather rash and bold response to his mentor?