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Richard Neutra (1892-1970)

Like R.M. Schindler, Richard Neutra, 1892-1970, was born in fin-de-siecle Vienna, that fulcrum of 20 century modernity. He was deeply affected by iconoclast and anti-Secessionist Adolf Loos, the work of Otto Wagner, the writings of Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright's 1910 Wasmuth Portfolios, which exploded the paradigm of "the box." Neutra followed Schindler to America in 1923, working on New York and Chicago skyscrapers and briefly for Wright before coming to California in 1925. Neutra is credited for introducing the International Style to the West Coast and is largely renowned for his elegant, spare, asymmetrical Modernist forms rendered in glass, steel and white stucco, as well as for his early embrace of the prefabrication and love of early 20 century technologies and materials. However, Neutra is equally unknown for the stuff that drove that form-making. This was his concept of "biorealism," his own term for his life-long passion in enlisting the sciences-especially psychology and biology-into the art of architecture so that design exploited, with great sophistication, the realm of the senses and an interconnectedness to nature that he believed fundamental and requisite to human well-being. Biorealism joined "bios," or life, and "realism," the idea that architecture could be based in the everyday realities of existence rather than shaped by an endless search for form. The assembly-line means of Henry Ford, were to be employed to this end, never an end in itself, in creating truly "functional" architecture. Along with his early colleague Schindler, Neutra helped to establish what is now the world's best collection of a disparate range of residential Modernism, each dwelling resolving questions afforded by the unique climate and geography of Southern California

Selected Works:

Lovell Health House, (1929) Hollywood

Neutra's seminal work featured in the MOMA exhibition on the International Style



VDL Research House, (1965) Los Angeles

Neutra's own home; now open for public tours



Davis Residence, (1937) Bakersfield, Ca

Two story house juxtaposes bands of horizontal solids and voids



The SAH/SCC Connection:

Buy Now at Powell's and a portion of the sales price goes to SAH/SCC. Click link below:

"Neutra: The Complete Works" by former SAH/SCC Board Member, Barbara Lamprecht, Taschen, 2000

"Neutra" by former SAH/SCC Board Member, Barbara Lamprecht, Taschen, 2004

"Richard Neutra: And the Search for Modern Architecture" by SAH/SCC Life Member Thomas S. Hines, Oxford University Press, 1982

SAH/SCC Event "Modern Patrons: Neutra in Shoshone" Event Video

Additional Resources :

Neutra Home Movies at the VDL House

Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design

USC School of Architecture

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