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UBC Theses and Dissertations

West Coast Bauhaus : a case study of the Oberlander Residence II Chanel , Blouin


This thesis will consider the joining of West Coast Modernism and Bauhaus-inspired architectural elements in the design of architect Peter Oberlander and landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander’s second residence in Vancouver, the Ravine House, located on the University of British Columbia Endowments Lands. It will posit that this style hybridization results from the Oberlanders’ particular situation as forced exiles from Central Europe as well as voluntary immigrants to Vancouver. This analysis will interrogate the dichotomy between exile and immigrant architecture that is presented in the literature of West Coast architecture The methodology will consist of an analysis of the architecture produced by the German-speaking immigrant and exile communities in Los Angeles from the 1920s to the 1950s, a precursor of the West Coast modernism in Vancouver. It will consider the seminal writings of Reyner Banham and Erhard Bahr in Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies and Weimar on the Pacific: German Exile Culture in Los Angeles and the Crisis of Modernism, with particular attention on their approaches for reading the experiences of exile and immigration in the architectural features of buildings. This approach will be applied to a case study of the Ravine House through a biographical sketch of the Oberlander’s migration as well as a formal analysis of West Coast Modernism and the Indigenous architectures it drew upon as well as the Bauhaus features of the residence.

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