Southern California has been a breeding ground for modernism in architecture since the 1920s, populated by legendary iconic characters like Neutra, Shindler and Eames. There are also living characters of huge influence. The most obvious is Frank Gehry who is arguably the most visible and influential architect of our time. He’s been featured in an episode of The Simpsons and has a signature jewelry line at Tiffany. Global recognition. He’s also the subject of the documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry (2006), which I saw last weekend in a filled-to-capacity theater. (Whether the draw was architecture or air conditioning on a 100º day, I’m not sure, but I recommend the film.)
Just down the road from Gehry in Southern LA, in a spectacular house, lives architect Ray Kappe. His influence in the field may well be as great as Gehry’s though he has never appeared on The Simpsons nor done designer jewelry.