May 31, 2016

Vintage Modern: Midcentury Architectural Photos at USC

Devotees of Midcentury Modernism have a brand-new batch of goodies to view. The University of Southern California recently digitized its Architectural Teaching Slide Collection, which consists of more than 1,000 images that show both famous and more obscure Modernist buildings in a different light.

Taken by Fritz Block, a German architect and photographer, and Pierre Koenig, a leading Modernist architect known for designing the iconic Stahl House, the slides mostly highlight places in Southern California (although a few Northern California buildings do sneak in). Block’s shots include work by architectural giants Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, Richard Neutra, and others, while Koenig’s focus on his own projects. On the whole, the USC images provide a more casual counterpart to pristine, perfectly lit midcentury photos by masters such as Julius Shulman and Marvin Rand.

“The Block and Koenig collections are important because they capture Southern California architecture in a non-edited, non-flashy way,” says Stacy Williams, head of the Architecture & Fine Arts Library at USC.

For a look at these vintage midcentury images, visit the Architectural Teaching Slide Collection. We’ve gathered some of our own favorites from the collection in the slideshow above.

Meghan Drueding is the managing editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee table books about architecture and design.


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