Genius Loci: Domesticity and Identity in Southern California

Event Date: 

Saturday, February 25, 2023 - 12:00am to Sunday, May 7, 2023 - 12:00am

Event Date Details: 

Opening reception:
Saturday, February 25



This exhibition features a selection of ten single-family home projects from the AD&A Museum’s Architecture and Design Collection (ADC) that convey the effervescent creativity permeating Southern California’s architectural production during the 20th century. Unifying the selected houses is the strong sense of place that their designs forge by responding to the specific conditions of their respective locations: desert areas, hillsides, beachfront properties, flat lands and even underground. Further linking the dwellings is the innovative, often experimental drive that underpins their conception. Thus, Genius Loci, meaning “spirit of the place” in Latin, refers, in the exhibition, to the identity that results from the novel dialogue between homes and sites.

The projects in this gallery owe their idiosyncratic strength to the interpretation of past styles, while those in the adjacent room rely on modern sensibilities and futuristic leanings. Without exception, the houses reveal their designers’ undeterred drive to push their careers forward. Among these designers are architects such as Albert Frey, Bernard Judge, Edla Muir, Lutah Maria Riggs and Rudolph Schindler. The range of dwellings exhibited demonstrates the multiplicity of stylistic approaches to shaping a modern, compelling lifestyle, in balance with the environment, in SoCal. Furthermore, the selections provide a glimpse of the wealth of the ADC, an essential resource for documenting the history of the region’s built environment.

Genius Loci is organized by the Art, Design & Architecture Museum, and is curated by Silvia Perea, Curator of the Architecture and Design Collection, with Leticia Cobra Lima, Murray Roman Curatorial Fellow. This exhibition is made possible thanks to generous support from the Museum Council.

Special thanks to Felicity Frisch, Ben Kersh, Victoria Platonova, Amanda Martin-Parras, Cheyenne Assil, Sylvia Faichney, Bill Lawrence, Lauren Weiss Bricker, Robert Alexander, Richard Haldi and Tim Botos.