Look forward in time. You are a licensed architect, an artist, or a practicing designer and you are driven to fix into visible form an image you have created that you wish to become iconic! Now imagine you are driving through the hills of Los Angeles and you find yourself on the 1600 block of Woods Drive. Motoring up Woods Drive you notice a residence on your left side but it doesn’t grab your attention. Looking past the shrubs, Palm Trees, and retaining wall, the geometric form is exceedingly simple with no external features to cause you to pause and sustain a long glance over your left shoulder. You have no inclination to stop your car and stare at this residence. Your eyes notice the street number of this house and you realize you are not only at your destination but you are looking at one of the most famous residences, not just in Los Angeles, but in the entire Western World!
All you see at this moment, however, is the street side exposure of the famous Case Study House #22—Pierre Koenig’s masterpiece—the Stahl House! You begin to wonder how did this very non-distinct form, seen from the street, become as famous, maybe even more famous, than Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater? You find a place to pull over and park your car. Getting out the driver’s door, you walk over to the other side of Woods Drive and get bits and pieces of the Greater Los Angeles valley as they become more and more visible as you find open spaces for your eyes to perceive through. But you possess a much sought after invitation to tour the Stahl House, so you confidently walk through the carport and step into the inner courtyard space containing the swimming pool. Very quickly your eyes see what famed Southern California architecture photographer Julius Shulman perceived that balmy evening on Monday, May 9, 1960! Julius Shulman’s artist eyes captured “a single image that would encapsulate the promises, hopes, and dreams of Los Angeles’ future…!” (Mary Melton, A Shot in the Dark: The Unknown Story Behind L.A.’s Most Celebrated Photograph, December 5, 2016).
Is this pictorial moment something you are striving for professionally or, is such an iconic experience too remote an opportunity to waste your time and energy on with everything else you are dealing with in your life?