Sitting in that distant grid, on a street south of the Miracle Mile where an early developer skimped on trees, are the Mackey Apartments, designed in 1939 by Rudolph Schindler. Pearl Mackey's commission was limited: three units and a two-level penthouse for herself. The white stucco box, broken up by the architect's signature slippage of volumes, is one of Schindler's few forays into Freewayland. With two exceptions — the Buck House and the iconic Chase House, located on Kings Road in fairly-flat West Hollywood — his residences tend to perch atop or cascade down hillsides.
At the Mackey Apartments, with little topography to work with, Schindler turned his attention to the domestic landscape. Little is known about Pearl Mackey's motivations for constructing the apartment building. A pragmatic home for a widow with additional income property, it would seem. Schindler expert Judith Sheine points to the architect's notebook of the time, located in the archives at UC Santa Barbara, that documents a contentious relationship between the client and designer. The interior, endlessly idiomatic, reflects the architect's fascination with compact, complex spaces. Built-in cabinetry and seating fills the corners of the rooms. Schindler composes natural light and wood detailing in careful striations. No apartment is alike; each takes on an integral logic of its own. Even the outdoor spaces are tightly controlled. Box hedges frame a ground floor garden, which extends the interior to the outside, but also reiterates the architectural internalization.
The gallery accomplishes an ambitious feat, no matter how modest the means. Combined, the gallery programing and the new addition flip focus of that enigmatic locale in Freewayland from residential micro-drama to civic display