When Schindler built the Kings Road residence, it was still possible to conceive of Los Angeles as an Edenic Last Chance: a terminus on a distant and fertile shore where the negative social conditions of Europe and America’s East Coast could be cast off and a fresh slate begun. Clearly Schindler’s experiments in constructing new kinds of social space through the articulation of physical space is predicated upon this optimism. How different then is the more recent image of Los Angeles, a dark and smoky vision populated by random bursts of gunfire and the chaotic menaces of floods, fires and earthquakes. Such apocalypticism not only mocks Schindler’s utopian social goals, it also dashes their very foundation and inspiration – the notion of a harmonious natural order.
Given the changes to the Kings Road neighborhood, as well as to L.A.’s broader social and natural environments, since the 1920s, how and under what conditions could an updated nature-based social contract be inscribed upon the Schindler House? Such a proposal entails re-envisioning both 1) the natural world and our possible relationships to it, and 2) the terms and conditions of a progressive, let alone an “utopian” social order.