Who hasn’t seen the iconic Julius Shulman photograph of the Stahl House designed in 1959 by architect Pierre Koenig? Part of the Case Study program in California, it is probably one of the most recognized residences in the world, in part due to Mr. Shulman’s indelible pictures.

This iconic image and building was a bit heavy in being revered and pseudo-frozen, and I decided it needed to be lived in again. If, by living, you’re thinking muscled faceted tentacles and a gelatinous watery mass, then yes.

I would file this one somewhere in between architectural visualization, fantasy and simulation.

cropped version for print and gallery work

understanding Koenig’s language


finding the language of the inhabitants

Using Real Flow, I filled the interior of the space with particles and and let the simulation run. Then tracing the particle trails in Cinema 4D and adding sweep nurbs to those trails. Not all particles have trails — some travel through time.

freezing time

It was around this point on the project where I couldn’t get the composition to work. I tried and tried, adjusting the lighting, textures, camera, etc to try to find that moment — a similar moment to what Shulman captured — but it was not to be found.

I abandoned the project for a while.

Then when I started it up again six months later and started looking for the files, they were no where to be found. Deleted, erased, whatever — gone. I decided to start from scratch.

I should note at this point that the original geometry for the Stahl house was borrowed from Google’s 3D Warehouse. A kind modeler had posted his version of the home for all to use. The only problem was, he had modeled it incorrectly. I only found this out after I started modeling my own version via Shulman and other’s photo-reference. And through this, I found the composition worked! Its almost as if Koenig or Shulman were making me discover for myself HOW this building was so iconic.