William Krisel’s First Professional Published Project: The Dan Palmer Deck at Schindler’s Falk Apartments, Silverlake, 1949 and the First Palmer & Krisel Office
- January 26th, 2010
- Posted in Palmer and Krisel . R. M. Schindler . William Krisel
- By John Crosse
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I was out last weekend checking out an open house for Schindler’s Westby House in Silverlake. While in the neighborhood I decided to do some “archeological work” at Schindler’s Falk Apartments at 3631 Carnation Ave. down the street.
Falk Apartments, Silverlake, R. M. Schindler, 1939. Photo by John Crosse.
Architect William Krisel’s “roots” so to speak, as a professional designer began while still in school at USC in 1949. Krisel apprenticed with noted architect/interior designer Paul Laszlo in the summer of 1946 where the focus was on residential design and residential and commercial interiors. The next three summers and after school during the school year Krisel worked in the office of Victor Gruen on office buildings and commercial work where he met future partner Dan Palmer. Dan had moved to California in 1947 with wife Doris and moved into R. M. Schindler’s Falk Apartments commissioned by S. T. and Pauline Falk (Dan’s aunt) in 1939.
Krisel’s first professional job was to design the pergola and deck improvements seen in the Sunset publication above and my photo below in the spring of 1949 during his last semester at USC. The project was published in 1951 in Sunset magazine and in 1953 was anthologized in “Sunset Ideas for Hillside Homes.” Palmer’s aunt Pauline allowed the pergola to be built and even paid for the construction. It is amazing that the pergola is still in such good shape 60 years later.
Palmer pergola designed by William Krisel with Schindleresque details. Photo by John Crosse.
While conducting an Oral History interview with Krisel I learned that his first office in 1950 was literally on the ground floor, i.e., in a dirt-floored, glorified crawl space below the apartments (see below).
First Palmer & Krisel office below the Falk Apartments. Photo by John Crosse.
At first the door seemed to have a padlock on it but on closer inspection it was unlocked. I opened the door to find the scene above right where it all began. Dungeon life was short-lived as when Bill’s father heard about it he said “You can’t be an architect and be in a basement. You’ll never get a client that way.”He fronted the boys $60.00 for their first month’s rent for a real office at 1072 Gayley Ave. in Westwood and they never looked back.