Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

In Los Angeles: the Architecture of Four Ecologies, Reyner Banham describes Freewayland: the swaths of flat acreage by the I-10 and former ranchos heading out towards Irvine and Pomona. He drolly titled the chapter on these suburban territories “The Plains of Id.” But really, architecture is a landscape of ego. In LA, the icons of modern architecture take to the hills. Houses and apartment buildings climbing up foothills and canyons, climbing higher as economy permits and striving for ridge tops, Freewayland famously appears as backdrop in photographs of these home — a twinkling grid of lights in the distance.

Sitting in that distant grid, on a street south of the Miracle Mile where an early developer skimped on trees, are the Mackey Apartments, designed in 1939 by Rudolph Schindler. Pearl Mackey’s commission was limited: three units and a two-level penthouse for herself. The white stucco box, broken up by the architect’s signature slippage of volumes, is one of Schindler’s few forays into Freewayland. With two exceptions — the Buck House and the iconic Chase House, located on Kings Road in fairly-flat West Hollywood — his residences tend to perch atop or cascade down hillsides. Read More …