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JULIUS RALPH DAVIDSON (1889-1977)

Davidson was born in Berlin, Germany. He worked for the office of Frank Stewart Murray in London and Paris for several years before marrying Greta Wollsteing (1914) and serving in World War I (1915). He returned to Berlin after the war. In 1923, Davidson moved to Los Angeles and worked for architect Robert D. Faquhar and developers Hite-Bilike. He then went to Chicago in 1933 to remodel hotel interiors until 1936 when he returned to Southern California for good. Most of his commissions after 1936 were residential. In 1938, he began teaching at Art Center College of Design. He retired in 1972 and died in Ojai, CA in 1977. Davidson donated his papers to the Architecture and Design Collection at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972 and 1975.

Davidson was part of a group of European expatriate architects which included Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schinder, Kem Weber, and Paul Laszlo who furthered modern architecture in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s. Architectural historians and critics have described Davidson as being conversant in and talented at bridging both Art Deco, International, and Modernist styles. His modern interiors have been noted for their warmth, fluidity, and well-planned storage space. Writer Thomas Mann, who had an aversion to glass-box styles, selected Davidson as the architect of his Pacific Palisades home for his moderate modernism. Bio adapted from Wikipedia. Research by Catherine Westegaard Cramer and Michael Locke.


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1921 - The Davidson Apartment Remodel, Berlin Germany.


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1930 - The Archie Bilike Apartment Building Remodel, unknown location. Commission was for a remodel and furniture design. Developed by Hite-Bilike. Destroyed.


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1931 - The Richard Bransten House, San Francisco CA. Unbuilt.


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1936 - The Stephen Hoag House, 9294 Sarah Street, North Hollywood CA. Destroyed. Address no longer exists.


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1938 - The Stothart-Phillips House, 2501 La Mesa Drive, Santa Monica CA. Sold to Roger and Julie Corman. Altered over the years. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1939 - The Houston Branch House, 1248-1250 Hillside Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Status unknown.


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1940 - The Gretna Green Apartments, aka Johanna Drucker Quadriplex, 12215 Dunoon Lane, Los Angeles CA. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1940 - The Maitland Remodel, 230 Strada Corta Road, Los Angeles CA. Original house built in 1934 by General Construction Co. Remodel included the bathroom, fireplace, stone veneer, and a reinforced concrete retaining wall. Photos by Julius Shulman.


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1941 - The Rubin and Zipporah Luleff Sabsay House, 2351 Silver Ridge Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Architect R. M. Schindler remodeled and made additions to the house, including a studio, in 1944 and 1952. Sold to Sharon L. Sabsay. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1941 - The Thomas and Katia Mann House, 1550 North San Remo Drive, Pacific Palisades CA. Opposed to the Hitler regime, German-born author Thomas Mann came to the United States in 1939. Mann lived in this house during the period he wrote the novel Dr. Faustus. Sold in 2016 to the German federal government, which restored the house and run it as a cultural center. Photos by Michael Locke.


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1947 - The Case Study House No. 15, 4755 Lasheart Drive, La Cañada Flintridge CA. Has been remodeled. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1947 - The Joseph Kingsley House, 1630 Amalfi Drive, Pacific Palisades CA. Destroyed in 2013. New house (bottom photo) built in 2015. Bottom photo by Michael Locke.


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1947 - The Sam and Jane Taylor House, 3247 Waverly Drive, Los Angeles CA. Built by the Ironwood Company. Photos by Michael Locke.


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1948 - The Don W. McFadden House, aka Case Study House 1, 10152 Toluca Lake Avenue, Toluca Lake CA. Built by Paul W. Wright. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1950 - The Jack G. Schapiro House, 3214 Waverly Drive, Los Angeles CA. Built by Whiting Construction Co. Sold in 2002 to Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow. Photos by Michael Locke.


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1957 - The David L. and Elizabeth Rabinowitz House, 2262 Stradella Road, Los Angeles CA. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1966 - 953-955 South Westgate Avenue, Los Angeles CA. 4-unit apartment complex. Photo by Michael Locke.


Sources include: The Julius Ralph Davidson Papers at the University of California, Santa Barbara; J. R. Davidson: A European Contribution to California Modernism by Lilian Pfaff.