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The Bookshelf

August 23, 1987|DAVID M. KINCHEN

Building the Slope: Hillside Houses 1920-1960 by Dominique Rouillard (Arts & Architecture Press, 1137 2nd St., Santa Monica, 169 pages, index, $14.95)chronicles the rapid development of hillside houses in Silver Lake and the Hollywood Hills beginning in the 1920s. Hillside houses have a long history in Los Angeles, but most developments were on the flats where the building was easy. R. M. Schindler, Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner, Pierre Koenig, Craig Ellwood and other architects drew their clients from the "avant-garde," as Rouillard so aptly phrases it. Hillside sites weren't suitable for ranch houses and cottages, so the architects developed modern solutions for sloping sites for their intellectual clients who could afford to look down--literally and figuratively--on the flatlanders. An alternative solution in the 1960s and 1970s was to create a flat site on top of the mountain, as was the case with MountainGate on the west side of the San Diego Freeway and upper Bel-Air on the east side. The technical aspects that Rouillard describes will appeal most to architectural specialists, but the book should interest anyone concerned with Southland architectural development.

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