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Male, Greece/US, born 1907-08-01, died 1988-07-16

Associated with the firms network

Neutra, Richard J., Architect; Soriano, Raphael S., Architect


Professional History

Résumé

Within the first five years of his life in Los Angeles, Soriano worked at two fruit stands, one in the Grand Central Market, and the other on Clark Street.

Draftsman, Richard J. Neutra, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1931-1934. In Neutra's office, he worked on the Rush City Reformed project, along with other draftsmen, including Harwell Hamilton Harris and Gregory Ain. He was mostly unpaid while working for Neutra.

Draftsman, Rudolph Schindler, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1934.

Architect, County of Los Angeles, Works Projects Administration (WPA), Los Angeles, CA, 1935-1936.

Principal, Raphael Soriano, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1936- . His first residential commission was for the residece of Emanual M. Lipetz, a concert pianist and his wife, Helene. In 1950, Soriano hired three architects to assist him, including Daniel Dworsky, Pierre Koenig (1925-2004) and Craig Ellwood (1922-1992). In 1952, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Southern California Chapter, interceded in a legal dispute lodged against Soriano by client David Noyes, barring him from practicing in Los Angeles.

Soriano became a relentless and dedicated advocate for prefabricated metal residential design. His designs of the 1950-1952 period, such as the Curtis and Schrage Houses were some of the most innovative and best-conceived Modern steel dwellings erected in Southern California, and influenced a younger generation of steel house designers, including Koenig, Ellwood and others.

Principal, Raphael Soriano, Architect, Belvedere, CA.

Teaching

Lecturer, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, 1942.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Southern California Chapter.

The Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) held a tour, 05/17/2003 of Soriano's houses entitled, "Soriano in the Sun." The tour visited the Lipetz House (1936), Strauss House (1941), Ebert House, (1942), Krause House, (1949-1951) and the Shrage House (1952).

Professional Awards

Recipient, Arts and Architecture magazine, Postwar Living Competition, Plywood House model, Los Angeles, 1943.

Recipient, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Southern California Chapter, Honor Award for the Katz House, Studio City, CA, 1949.

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1961.

Archives

All of Soriano's drawings are housed at the Archive Special Collections at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, College of Environmental Design, Pomona, CA. His slide collection, numbering more than 6,000 images, is also housed at Cal Poly Pomona.

Education

High School/College

In Rhodes, his father and grandfather instructed Raphael at home, teaching him various languages including French and his native Greek, and mathematics. Home schooling also imparted skills in playing the violin.

Graduate, College Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Rhodes, Greece, 1922.

B.Arch., University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, 1929-06/1934.

Personal

Relocation

Born on the island of Rhodes, Greece, Soriano lived for four years early in life in Turkey. He returned to spend the rest of his childhood living in the Jewish Quarter of Rhodes. Tensions in the region among portions of the Ottoman Empire and surrounding states first flared up during the Italo-Turkic War of 1911-1912 and developed into the genocidal First Balkan War during 1912-1913. This extreme instability, in turn, fed into the larger continental realignments culminating in World War I between 1914-1918. This backdrop of ethnic violence and instability caused many young people in Rhodes, particularly in the Jewish minority, to consider emigration to the relatively peaceful and egalitarian US. Soriano sailed on an Italian merchant vessel, headed for America in 1924. His arrival was delayed six months by Congressional passage of the Immigration Act of 1924 (aka the "Johnson-Reed Act"), a bill that severely limited US immigration for people originating from Asia and Southern and Eastern Europe, while enlarging spots reserved for those from the British Isles and Western Europe. Congress devised the formula that ethnic groups would be allowed into the country based upon 2% of their total representation in the 1890 US Census. Because of details related to the passage of this act, Soriano was forced to spend half a year in Naples awaiting entry into the US. He arrived at Ellis Island in New York on 09/15/1924, before boarding a train for Los Angeles. His mother had three sisters who had already migrated to Southern CA. He arrived in Los Angeles County by 09/26/1924, according to his 1930 US naturalization paperwork. Soriano began the process of citizenship in the US District Court in Los Angeles on 09/10/1926.

Once in Los Angeles, Soriano moved around from residence to residence several times. Between 1930 and 1934, he resided at 1828 West Santa Barbara Avenue in Los Angeles and moved to 435 South Alexandria Avenue by 1936. Soriano worked in jobs selling fruit before entering college for architectural training at the University of Southern California. He received US citizenship in Los Angeles on 05/23/1930.

The 1940 US Census listed him as living in a large apartment building at 1207 Miramar Street, just outside of Downtown Los Angeles, where he had been since at least 1938. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1940; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00420; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 60-985, accessed 09/05/2019.) He had a Los Angeles address of 6731 Leland Way between 1942 and 1952, at least. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 09/05/2019.)

The architect had an uncompromising and stubborn nature. He got into many disagreements with people, including clients. One, in particular, David Noyes, for whom Soriano designed a Bel Air residence completed in 1950, brought an official complaint before the Ethics Committee of the American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter, claiming malpractice for inflating budgets. The AIA committee decided for the client, and banned Soriano from practicing in Los Angeles in 1953.

As a result of this, Soriano resettled in Tiburon, CA, in 1953 with his new wife and her three children. A later residence listed for him was 21 Main Street, Belvedere, CA.

Soriano's last residence was in the 91711 zip code of Claremont, CA; He died in that city and was interred at the Home of Peace Memorial Park in East Los Angeles, a cemetery begun in 1855 by the Hebrew Benevolent Society.

Parents

His mother was Rebecca Codron, his father Simon Soriano. His parents had three children, all boys. In Rhodes, the family resided in the Jewish Quarter of the city, where his father operated a dry goods store.

Spouse

He wed Elizabeth Stephens Coberly, on 05/16/1952 in Orange County, CA. Her father was a prominent lawyer and jurist in the Bay Area.

Biographical Notes

US Naturalization paperwork dated 05/23/1930 for Soriano contained at least tthree mistakes. First, his birthdate was recorded as 08/01/1904, second, his place of birth was stated to have been "Rodi, Italy," and third his former nationality was stated to have been Italian. He renounced allegiance to Victor Emanuel III, King of Italy. It is possible that immigration agents assumed that Soriano was Italian because he came to the US aboard the Navigazione Generale Italiana's ship S.S. Giulio Cesare from Naples in 1924. It is also possible that recent changes in immigration law in 1924 made it more difficult for Soriano to gain entry into the US from his native Greece rather than Italy. There were far more Italians than Greeksliving in the US in 1890, and the immigration quota was set to 2% of the 1890 US Census figure. In 1890, there were approximately 600,000 Italians living in the US, while there were only about 15,000 Greeks. (See Roy Rosenzweig center for History and New Media.org., "A Timeline of Greek Immigration," accessed 09/04/2019, and Library of Congress.gov, "Immigration...Italian The Great Arrival," accessed 09/04/2019.)

At age 37 in 1942, Soriano stood 5-feet, 6-inches tall, weighed 155 pounds, and had blue eyes and brown hair. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940 - 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1706, accessed 09/05/2019.)

Soriano was a registered Democrat in the elections of 1936, 1938, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1948, 1950 and 1952. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, accessed 09/05/2019.) He declined to state his affiliation in 1934.

SSN: 563-52-4868.



Associated Locations

PCAD id: 125


NameDateCityState
20 Longfellow Road House, Mill Valley, CAMill ValleyCA
24 Longfellow Road House, Mill Valley, CAMill ValleyCA
Adolph's Office Building, Burbank, CABurbankCA
Austrian, Spencer and Jean Kunakova, House, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA1938Los AngelesCA
Bachelor's House, Los Angeles, CA1940Los AngelesCA
Case Study House 1950, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, CA1949-1950Los AngelesCA
Colby, Lucile, Apartments, Los Angeles, CA 1950-1952Los AngelesCA
Curtis-Noyes House, Los Angeles, CA1950Los AngelesCA
Doric Column (Student Project)
Ebert, Carl, House, West Hollywood, CA
Erectheum (Student Project)
Facade of a Private Aquarium (Student Project)
Federation for Jewish Charities, Soto-Michigan Jewish Community Center, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA 1938-1939Los AngelesCA
Gogol House, Los Angeles, CA1938-1939Los AngelesCA
Hallawell Seed Company Garden Center, San Francisco, CA1941-1942San FranciscoCA
Hartman, Harold, House Project, Los Angeles, CA1936
Kimpson, Dean, House, Alamitos Heights, Long Beach, CA1939-1940Long BeachCA
Krause, Edwin, House, Whittier, CA1949-1951WhittierCA
Lipetz, Helen and Emanuel M. House, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA1935-1936Los AngelesCA
Long Span House, Belvedere, CABelvedereCA
Los Angeles Jewish Community Center, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA1937Los AngelesCA
Lukens, Glen, House, Jefferson Park, Los Angeles, CA1939-1940Los AngelesCA
Meyers, J.A., House, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA1938Los AngelesCA
Middleton, David and Hilda, House Project, Berkeley, CA1951
Polito, Antonio J., House, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, CA1938Los AngelesCA
Priver, Dodie, House #1, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA 1937Los AngelesCA
Priver, Mr. and Mrs. Dodie, House, Los Angeles, CA
Ross House, Los Angeles, CA1938Los AngelesCA
San Pedro Community Hospital, San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA1958-1960Los AngelesCA
Schrage, David M. and Riva, House, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA1950-1952Los AngelesCA
Sephardic Hebrew Center Project, Los Angeles, CA1938
Shulman, Julius, House and Photography Studio, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, CA1950Los AngelesCA
Strauss House, Los Angeles, CA1940-1941Los AngelesCA
Touriel Medical Building, Los Angeles, CA1950Los AngelesCA
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