Architect Of Note

Pierre Koenig

Born in San Francisco, California, October 17, 1925. Koenig was educated in San Francisco, The University of Utah, 1943; School of Engineering, Salt Lake City, Pasadena City College, California, 1946-48; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1948-52, B.Arch. 1952. He served in the United States Army as a Flash-Ranging Observer in Europe, 1943-46, and following that apprenticed in the offices of Raphael Soriano; Edward Fickett; Kistner, Wright and Wright; Jones and Emmons. While still a student at USC's School of Architecture in 1950, Koenig did something very few students get to do: he built himself a house. Not just any house, either- it was an elegant glass-and-steel pavilion that attracted nationwide attention. At one stroke, Koenig established himself as a force in Modernist architecture; the echoes have not died down yet. He has been in private practice since graduation in 1952. After designing a number of exposed steel and glass houses, Koenig was invited by John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, to design Case Study House No. 21. The Case Study program eventually encompassed thirty-six houses; Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, and Koenig were just a few of the participating architects. Although a few Case Study designs were never built, the majority were, including two by Koenig; Case Study Houses 21 and 22. With the successful completion of that project Koenig designed Case Study House No. 22, which turned out to be one of the most famous houses of all.

Over the years Case Study House 22 has become an iconic symbol of Southern California living. It is a spectacular house soaring above the city below, with long cantilevered roof and floor overhangs that extend the viewer's line of vision to the distant ocean and the horizon beyond. Case Study House 21 exemplifies a meticulous coordination between plan, structure and detail. The landscaping, designed by Koenig, is composed of water, brick and gravel to extend the horizontal planes of the house. In 1989 the Museum of Modern Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles constructed on-site at the Temporary Contemporary a full scale walk-through model of CSH 22 for the exhibit titled "Blueprints for Modern Living."

In 1964 Koenig was invited by Dean Sam Hurst to join the architecture faculty at USC where he worked with Prof. Ralph Knowles in designing with natural forces and with Konrad Wachsman as Assistant Director of the Institute of Building Research, 1969-71. As Associate Professor since 1970, Koenig was Director of the Chemehuevi Indian Reservation Planning Program from 1971- 78. Pierre Koenig was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1971. Continuing his practice while teaching, Koenig has taught various Design Studios and is now the Director of the Natural Forces Laboratory and the undergraduate Building Science Program for Architecture at USC, from 1980 to the present.

Notable Work

·    Koenig Exposed Steel House, 1950, Glendale, CA
·    Lamel Exposed Steel House 1953, Glendale, CA
·    Squiare Exposed Steel House, 1954, La Canada, CA
·    Scott Exposed Steel House, 1955, Tujunga, CA
·    Burwash Exposed Steel House, 1957, Sunland, CA
·    Case Study House 21, 1958, Hollywood, CA
·    Case Study House 22, 1960, Hollywood, CA
·    Seidel Beach House, 1961,, Malibu, CA
·    Oberman Exposed Steel House, 1963 Palos Verdes, CA
·    Factory, 1966, El Segundo, CA
·    Iwata House, 1968, Monterey Park, CA
·    Chemehuevi Indian Reservation, 1971-1977, Lake Havasu, CA
·    West Exposed Steel House, 1972, Vallejo, California
·    Burton House, 1978, Malibu, CA