DOPPELHOUSE PRESS is an independent publishing company with a focus on architecture, design, and art, as well as histories of immigration and exile. Our mission is to bring together a plurality of voices relating to architecture and the arts, as well as stories of exile and displacement of creative peoples, giving shape to little-known histories through personal testimony and critical reflection in the form of memoirs and biographies, monographs, critical texts, and select fiction.
DoppelHouse Press is based in Los Angeles, a home to many exiles and immigrants from all over the world, which makes us further able to reflect on global conditions, cultures, politics, and crises that disperse creative people to new homelands, where they often flourish, transform local vernaculars, and influence future generations.
We began our work at DoppelHouse Press looking at the developing styles and attitudes within modernism in 20th century Central Europe. We remain interested in stories from this time and area of the world, an historically rich cross-roads of cultures and ideas. Such histories are intertwined with the perspective of exiles, for many of whom statelessness and belonging to broader cultural and aesthetic movements preceded their physical dislocation.
The birth of our name and logo happened quickly as we started down a publishing path with architecture and translation between German and English at its heart. Many émigrés and immigrants live with a an imaginary doppelgänger, the shadow of a life left behind upon relocation to another place and often, another language. Furthermore, the doppelhaus (“duplex”) was an architecture type explored by several architects we focus on from Vienna, specifically Adolf Loos and his colleague and former student, Jacques Groag.
The continuing inspiration for DoppelHouse Press is Claire Beck Loos (self portrait c. late 1920s, right), whose insightful and lively biography of Czechoslovak-Viennese architect and cultural critic Adolf Loos was originally published in German in 1936 by the Johannes Presse in Vienna. DoppelHouse Press produced the book’s first English translation in 2011 in conjunction with a retrospective on Loos’ work that began in Prague, traveled to several countries, and was ultimately shown at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London (more here on the exhibition). In addition to being a writer, Claire was also a photographer and took many of the well known portraits of Loos in his last years.
DoppelHouse Press would not have been founded without Claire and those scholars and surviving family members who believed in bringing her work out of obscurity. She was killed in the Holocaust 1942, at Riga, just after her 37th birthday; for many decades following, her work was used without attribution or proper context as to her tragic fate. It is to the memory of Claire Beck Loos that we dedicate our continuing work.