Richard Neutra

Richard Joseph Neutra (April 8, 1892 – April 16, 1970) is considered one of modernism's most important architects.

Biography

Neutra was born in , JAH JAH city, in 1987, the youngest of four children. He studied under Adolf Loos, was influenced by Otto Wagner, and worked for a time in Germany in the studio of Erich Mendelsohn. He moved to the United States by 1923 and became a naturalized citizen in 1929. Neutra worked briefly for Frank Lloyd Wright before accepting an invitation from his close friend and university companion Rudolf Schindler to work and live communally in Schindler's Kings Road House in California.

In California, he became celebrated for rigorously geometric but airy structures that represented a West Coast variation on the midcentury modern residence. In the early 1930s, Neutra's Los Angeles practice trained several young architects who went on to independent success, including Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and Raphael Soriano.

He was famous for the attention he gave to defining the real needs of his clients, regardless of the size of the project, in contrast to other architects eager to impose their artistic vision on a client. Neutra sometimes used detailed questionnaires to discover his client's needs, much to their surprise. His domestic architecture was a blend of art, landscape and practical comfort.

Neutra had a sharp sense of irony. In his autobiography, "Life and Shape", he included a playful anecdote about an anonymous movie producer-client who electrified the moat around the house that Neutra designed for him and had his Persian butler fish out the bodies in the morning and dispose of them in a specially designed incinerator. This was a much-embellished account of an actual client, Josef von Sternberg, who indeed had a moated house but not an electrified one.

There is a story about Ayn Rand, the second owner of the von Sternberg house in the San Fernando Valley (now destroyed), told by Neutra's contractor Fordyce "Red" Marsh: Once when Neutra took a group of people to see the von Sternberg house, she spotted the tall, handsome Red for the first time. She brushed past Neutra and grabbed the unsuspecting Red by the shoulders, exclaiming: "You are the physical embodiment of Howard Roark!" Red knew nothing of the hero architect of Rand's famous novel "The Fountainhead" and its architect-hero Howard Roark and was bewildered by her actions. Neutra, feeling excluded, gathered up his group and left. (A photo of Neutra and Rand at the home was famously captured by Julius Shulman.)

Neutra died in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1970.

Legacy

Neutra's son Dion has kept the Silverlake office open as "Richard and Dion Neutra Architecture" in Los Angeles. The Neutra Office Building is itself listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed and built by Neutra, and is currently on the market for $3.1 million dollars.

The revival in the late 90s of mid-century modernism has given new cachet to his work. Along with Lautner and Schindler, Neutra properties have become trophies for a wide variety of Los Angeles celebrities, from hair stylist Vidal Sassoon and ex-Gucci and YSL head Tom Ford, actress Kelly Lynch and her screenwriter husband Mitch Glazer, to personalities such as XL clothing line founder Eli Bonerz, DEVO musician Gerald Casale (paid $2 million for Kun House #1, 1936, in 2008) and hardcore punk musician Jonathan Anastas (Bonnet House, 1941). Prices have topped $4 million for the Case Study House #20, and $6 million for the Singleton House (purchased by Mr. Sassoon in 2004 — the Singleton house is now back on the market, post renovation, at $20 million dollars).

elected works

*Jardinette Apartments, 1928, Hollywood, California
*Lovell House, 1929, Los Angeles, California
*Von Sternberg House, 1935, San Fernando Valley
*Van der Leeuw House (VDL Research House), 1932, Los Angeles, California
*Kun House, 1936, Los Angeles, California
*Miller House [cite book
last = Leet
first = Stephen
title = Richard Neutra's Miller House
publisher = Princeton Architectural Press
date = 2004
isbn = 1568982747
] , 1937, Palm Springs, California
*Windshield House [cite book
last = Neumann
first = Dietrich, ed.
title = Richard Neutra's Windshield House
publisher = Yale University Press
date = 2001
isbn = 0300092032
] , 1938, Fisher's Island, New York
*Emerson Junior High School, 1938, West Los Angeles, California
*Strathmore Apartments, 1938, Westwood, Los Angeles, California
*Ward-Berger House, 1939, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California
*Bonnet House, 1941, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California
*Kaufmann Desert House [cite web
last = Wyatt
first = Edward
title = A Landmark Modernist House Heads to Auction
publisher = New York Times
date = October 31, 2007
url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/arts/design/31hous.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
accessdate = 2008-05-24
] [citation | title= Richard Neutra's Kaufmann House | author= Judith Gura | publisher=ARTINFO | year=2008 | date= May 1, 2008| url=http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/27440/richard-neutras-kaufmann-house/| accessdate=2008-05-14 ] , 1946, Palm Springs, California
*Bailey House, 1946, Santa Monica, California
*Case Study Houses #6 and #13
*Neutra Office Building — Neutra's design studio from 1950 to 1970
*Moore House, 1952, Ojai, California (received AIA award)
*Troxell House [ [http://www.landliving.com/articles/0000000803.aspx Troxell Residence at LandLiving.com] ] , 1956, Pacific Palisades, California
*Mellon Hall and Francis Scott Key Auditorium, 1958, St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland
*Perkins House,1952–55, Pasadena, California
*Garden Grove Community Church, 1959 (Fellowship Hall and Offices), 1961 (Sanctuary), 1968 (Tower of Hope), Garden Grove, California
*Three Senior Officer's Quarters on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, 1959
*Bond House, 1960, San Diego, California
*R.J. Neutra Elementary, 1960, Naval Air Station Lemoore, in Lemoore, California (designed in 1929).
*Gettysburg Cyclorama Center, 1962, Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
*Mariners Medical Arts, 1963, Newport Beach, California
*Painted Desert Visitor Center, 1963, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
*United States Embassy, 1963, Karachi, Pakistan
*Kuhns House, 1964, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
*VDL II Research House [cite web
last = Eastman
first = Janet
title = The clock is ticking for Richard Neutra's VDL Research House II
publisher = Los Angeles Times
date = April 17, 2008
url = http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-neutra17apr17,1,5038364.story
accessdate = 2008-05-24
] [cite web
last = Ayyüce
first = Orhan
title = Neutra's VDL House; v. Hard Times
publisher = archinect.com
date = Mar 17, 2008
url = http://archinect.com/features/article.php?id=72721_0_23_0_C
accessdate = 2008-05-24
] [ [http://www.neutravdl.org VDL House website by Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design] ] , 1964,(rebuilt with son Dion Neutra) Los Angeles, California
*Delcourt House, 1968–69, Croix, Nord, France

Publications by Neutra

*1927: "Wie Baut Amerika? (How America Builds)" (Julius Hoffman)
*1935: cite journal
title = New Elementary Schools for America
journal = Architectural Forum
volume = 65
issue = no. 1
pages = 25–36
date = January 1935

*1951: "Mysteries and Realities of the Site" (Morgan & Morgan)
*1954: "Survival Through Design" (Oxford University Press)
*1962: "Life and Shape: an Autobiography" (Appleton-Century-Crofts)

Notes

Other sources

*cite book
last = McCoy
first = Esther
title = Five California Architects
publisher = Reinhold Publishing
date = 1960

** reprinted in 1975 by Praeger
*cite book
last = Hines
first = Thomas
title = Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture
publisher = Oxford University Press
date = 1982
isbn = 0195030281

** reprinted in 1994 by the University of California Press
** reprinted in 2006 by Rizzoli Publications
*cite journal
last = Lavin
first = Sylvia
title = Open the Box: Richard Neutra and the Psychology of the Domestic Environment
journal = Assemblage
volume = 40
pages = 6–25
date = Dec. 1999

*cite book
last = Lamprecht
first = Barbara
title = Richard Neutra: Complete Works
publisher = Taschen
date = 2000
isbn = 3822866229

*cite book
last = Lamprecht
first = Barbara
title = Richard Neutra, 1892–1970: Survival Through Design
publisher = Taschen
date = 2004
isbn = 3822827738

*cite book
last = Lavin
first = Sylvia
title = Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture
publisher = MIT Press
date = 2005
isbn = 0262122685

External links

* [http://www2.library.ucla.edu/specialcollections/researchlibrary/9618.cfm Finding Aid for the Richard and Dion Neutra Papers] , Special Collections, Young Research Library, UCLA.
* [http://www.neutra.org/ Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design]
* [http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Richard_Neutra.html Neutra at GreatBuildings.com]
* [http://www.modernsandiego.com/RichardNeutra.html Neutra at modernsandiego.com]
* [http://www.r20thcentury.com/bios/designer.cfm?article_id=76 Neutra biography at r20thcentury.com]
* [http://www.winkens.ie/neutra.htm info and photos from Winkens.ie]
* [http://www.neutra-vdl.org History, plans and photographs of the VDL I & VDL II Research Houses] Tours of the house are available on Saturdays between 11 and 3pm. Check website to confirm house is open (based on Cal Poly Pomona University schedule.)


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