Custom-built for a silent film star in 1934 in Santa Monica, the Sten-Frenke House is an idiosyncratic icon. Designed by the architect Richard Neutra, its gray glass, white expanses, and simple forms exude austerity. Luisa Lambri’s photograph Untitled (Sten-Frenke House #04) (2007)recalls the unembellished elegance of the structure while also alluding to modernist painting; the image is less a picture than an abstract expanse that conveys its own flatness.
Lambri’s careful framing in Untitled (Miller House, #02) redefines our understanding of this iconic mid-century modernist building located in Columbus, Indiana. Commissioned by industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia Simons Miller, and built by Eero Saarinen in 1953, the Miller house’s open and flowing layout expands upon modernist architectural traditions. It features a flat roof, stone and glass walls, with rooms configured beneath a grid pattern of skylights and supporting cruciform steel columns.
Rudolph Schindler’s designs, part of a practice he called “Space Architecture,” marry interior with exterior and space with light. The architect’s longtime studio and residence, which he built in Los Angeles in 1922, exemplifies this philosophy, and has since become an influential part of the modernist architectural canon. In Untitled (Schindler House #01) (2007), Luisa Lambri describes Schindler’s studio by capturing its aftereffects—the play of light and shadow cast through branches onto a surface. The photograph is an ethereal portrait of Schindler’s work and ethos, evoking the building without actually depicting its concrete slabs and untreated wood.