Pauline Schindler: Gender & the California Bungalow

Tanya Alejandra Paz
Oct 21, 2013 4:34AM

The second phase of the MAK Center’s A Little Joy of a Bungalow at the Schindler House opened last week featuring works by Molly Corey and Andrea Lenardin-Madden.

Extruded from the negative space defined by the architecture of the house, Andrea Lenardin-Madden's looking west facing east, (pictured) is an installation of three light pieces positioned in the original Pauline Schindler studio.

At the same time, Molly Corey’s piece—if not directly experienced—is heard throughout the home. The parallel but dissonant auditory tracks of Pauline’s letters read aloud suffused the entire space. In Letter from an Unknown Woman, Corey attempts to expose the contributions of the proverbial ‘woman behind the man’ – a self-described “feminist interrogation” of the Schindler House.

The pairing of Lenardin-Madden and Corey’s pieces highlights Pauline’s radical social ideas and exposes her voice in the design of this live/work space. Engaging both the home's structure and Pauline's activist voice, the pieces demonstrate the source of the revolutionary ideas that underpin Schindler's design; arguing the home as a product of his forms and her words. 

Not only challenging this modernist landmark, the pieces force the quintessential California Bungalow to become a powerful and subversive artifact of the changing gender expectations in domestic dwelling.

On the heels of Women in Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s viral petition to the Pritzker Architecture Prize seeking recognition of Denise Scott Brown’s work in Robert Venturi’s 1991 award, the exhibit inadvertently contributes to this campaign revealing a mostly silent force behind Schindler’s revolutionary designs.

Exhibit information:

Petition information:

Tanya Alejandra Paz