Its modern bones still apparent under new signage and canopies, this small shopping complex prefigured the now-common typology of the strip mall.
Visionary architect R. M. Schindler designed only a few commercial projects, two of which were for real estate developer and early patron of Modern architecture William Lingenbrink. One of these projects, the Lingenbrink Shops on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, survives relatively unscathed, its Modern bones still apparent under new signage and canopies.
Schindler designed this small shopping complex, which prefigured the now-common typology of the mini-mall or strip mall, as a staggered series of connected buildings with flat roofs and prominent perpendicular stucco planes. It was completed in 1942, with a Schindler-designed addition in 1946.
The buildings retain their original display windows, flagstone block columns, and flagstone accent walls, some with built-in planters. They are far from homogenous; they display a variety of articulated heights, which, with their staggered vertical stucco elements, work to create a diversified grouping with great visual appeal.
But their scale is small overall and the common design elements of stucco, glass, and flagstone serve to unify them. They blend so well with the surrounding landscape and the busy commercial street on which they sit, you may have to look twice as you pass by lest you miss them – but Schindler's design is worth it.