Das kalifornische Stahlhaus : die Architektur von Raphael S. Soriano ; 1935 - 1970

Wagener, Wolfgang; Speidel, Manfred (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Publikationsserver der RWTH Aachen University (2002, 2003)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Aachen, Techn. Hochsch., Diss., 2002


A new idea of architecture emerged just before World War II, and congealed just after it. Different from anything built in America or anywhere else before, the modern California house became known as a distinctive building typology by around 1950. A consistent and complete architectural program, today categorized as Midcentury Modernism or Case Study House Style, was created. By employing a novel approach to planning, design, building construction, material selection, and inside?outside relationships, it put California, and Los Angeles in particular, on the global architecture map. With their horizontality, lightness, informality, transparency, and ability to merge inside and outside, these houses that materialized throughout a 30-year period, embodied a new lifestyle. Their physical environment was the realization of the American dream of the post-World War II house. It was the built utopia of the modern America, assisted in its creation by President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal reforms and by the global war. Raphael Soriano's work was pivotal to this evolution. This dissertation is the first comprehensive thesis on Raphael Soriano's architecture. It consists of three parts. The first describes the cultural context of Midcentury Modernism in Southern California. It shows the political, economical and historical foundations for the evolution of the modern California house. The second provides a detailed analysis of Soriano's key buildings and his pioneering contributions to midcentury modernization in America. The main focus of this chapter is to demonstrate Soriano's role in the evolution of the California steel house. It is a historical analysis of the architectural design and building construction. This section concludes with a systematization of Soriano's lifetime achievements. The third presents Soriano's complete works from 1929 - 1988.