Thursday, 17 May 2012

feature : Schulman and Soriano

Julius Schulman (1910-2009) and Richard Neutra (1892-1970)

photo thanks to : hugeasscity


Raphael Soriano (1904-88)

photo thanks to : modernsandiego


On the day he first met architect Richard Neutra, photographer Julius Shulman also met architect Raphael Soriano; Neutra sent him to meet his thirty-two year old former assistant on the site of Soriano’s first house.


That was in 1936, before Shulman’s name was mentioned in Californian modern architectural circles.  By 1947 it was a very different story.  Thanks to photographing the works of Neutra, Soriano, and other architects, he’d become celebrated, and in a position to build his own house on a plot he’d bought in Laurel Canyon, high in the Hollywood Hills.


Suffice to say Shulman had the pick of the bunch when it came to choosing an architect to design his house.  He might have been expected to hire Neutra or Schindler, but instead hired Soriano, someone he’d admittedly become friendly with, but someone who was not everyone’s cup of tea (read his Katz House saga).


But Shulman knew Soriano had innovative skills to offer.  The architect was at the forefront in the design of steel framed houses, and this proved crucial when, early in the life of the house, a small earthquake caused a landslide that brought tons of rock tumbling into his living room.  The steel structure, much to Shulman’s relief, remained totally undistorted, without even a crack being suffered by any ceiling.  What did get broken was one of Shulman’s legs, unfortunately.


Shulman lived on in Soriano’s house, quite uneventfully it seems, right up to his death in 2009, having reached the ripe age of 98. 


In 1998 he said of his architect and friend “.....the reverence for Soriano is almost overwhelming as I view the garden through a 30 foot wall of glass.....I cannot begin to express my gratitude for forty-eight years in this Soriano-created sanctuary”.


Soriano died in 1988.



by Richard Woollen, guest author


photos thanks to : socalarchhistory

photo thanks to : tabletmag

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