The Block and Koenig slides are two of the smaller unique collections in the possession of the USC Libraries. They document examples of 20th century California architecture that developed stylistically from the foundations of the International Style as established by the 1932 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, titled Modern Architecture: International Exhibition, and of European pre-World War II Modernism.
The collection consists of about 1300 slides from the Fritz Block collection that document Modern architecture of Southern California (although there are some slides that pertain to Modern architecture of Northern California), and 100 slides from the collection of Pierre Koenig.
Fritz Block (1889-1955) was a German-trained architect, who moved to Los Angeles in 1938. He started his own color slide company in Hollywood. His papers are at UC Santa Barbara; his slides came to USC. He shot slides of many private homes, as well as of some housing developments.
Pierre Koenig (1925-2004) was among the most important Modern architects working in Southern California, and a long-time faculty at the USC School of Architecture. He is noted, among many projects, for participating in the Case Study House program, and for designing Case Study Houses #21 and #22, both of which are extant. The digitized slides were selected by Pierre Koenig in the late 1990s, for a potential digitization project spearheaded at that time by the curator of the USC Slide Library. A prototype web site was set up in the 1990s.
Funding for digitzation of the Architectural Teaching Slide Collection was provided by Victor Albert Regnier, ACSA Distinguished Professor and Professor of Architecture and Geronotology at the USC School of Architecture.
This information was provided by Ruth Wallach, Head (1999-2014) of the Architecture and Fine Arts Library, USC.