Now available for your browsing pleasure, the USC Digital Library has multiple collections showcasing hundreds of photographs of vintage California architecture from the 20th century. More specifically, the library possesses two notable collections of slides from late architects Fritz Block (Germany) and Pierre Koenig (USA) that contain 1,400 images of modern architecture. The library describes them as “two of the smaller unique collections” in their possession.
Viewable in all their grainy glory, the slides are a fascinating time capsule of iconic 20th-century California structures (for the most part, stylistic offshoots from the International Style). Fritz Block, a German architect, moved to Los Angeles in 1938, and wasted no time documenting the structures around him with particular emphasis on residences and housing developments. Pierre Koenig, once a faculty member of the USC School of Architecture, was, as described by the USC library, “among the most important Modern architects working in Southern California.”
Though the collections sometimes fixate on the fine details only a true architecture aficionado would appreciate, there are certainly some gems here, documented when the buildings were in their prime. Keep an eye out for examples of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Donald Wexler, E. Stewart Williams, Albert Frey and Pierre Koenig himself.