|An exhibit at the A+D (Architecture and Design) Museum now through Sept. 9 will highlight the Neutra VDL Research House II.|
|Landscape Architecture students look over documents at the Neutra VDL Research House II, designed in 1966 by architects Richard and Dion Neutra,and donated to Cal Poly Pomona in 1979.|
Architect Richard Neutra gave Southern California some of its best modern houses including the Kauffman House near Palm Springs (1946) and Moore House in Ojai (1952). An exhibit at the A+D (Architecture and Design) Museum will highlight the famed architects own Silverlake residence, the Neutra VDL Research House II, which is being preserved by Cal Poly Pomona for public study and use.
The exhibit on the design, construction and history of the Neutra VDL Research House II will be held now through Sept. 9 at the A+D Museum in West Hollywood. An opening reception is scheduled Aug. 5, from 6-8 p.m.
Organizers hope raising awareness about the Neutra VDL Research House will generate support for its preservation and rehabilitation. With only a small endowment, Cal Poly Pomona has struggled to preserve the historic home, which is suffering from structural and water problems that have resulted in some deterioration of interior finishes. An estimated $1 million is needed to stabilize and rehabilitate the house.
Some innovative features of the house are currently being restored, including the LemLar Sun Louver System on the west facade, under the supervision of Neutra VDL Research House Director Ken McCown, an assistant professor of Landscape Architecture.
Neutra designed and built the original VDL house in 1932 at 2300 Silverlake Blvd. in Los Angeles, adding a small house at the rear of the property in 1939. The house is named after Cornelius H. van de Leeuw, a Dutch industrialist who met Neutra in Europe and offered to make him a loan so that the young architect could build an experimental house for himself and his family. The house was designed for living and working close to nature in an urban residential district. The three-story main house faces the lake: work spaces are on the ground floor, with the main living spaces above and a small penthouse surrounded by a deck at the top. The main house and the one-story structure at the rear both open onto a central courtyard. To maximize the built space on the site, Neutra extended the buildings from lot-line to lot-line. Views through the houses and across the courtyard, decks and balconies extend the small spaces beyond their boundaries. Neutra convinced a number of manufacturers to donate new materials for him to use in the house, in exchange for the publicity his radical modern design was likely to generate.
An electrical fire destroyed the main house in 1963. Neutra rebuilt the studio/residence on the existing foundations and subfloor with his son and partner, architect Dion Neutra. After Richard Neutra died in 1970, his wife Dione continued to live in the house. In 1979, she and Cal Poly Pomona agreed that the house would be left to the university after her death so that it could be preserved for public study anduse. Dion Neutra has remained active as a practitioner and has continued to work with Cal Poly Pomona to maintain the house and its legacy. The significance of the house was recognized in 1999 when it was designated a World Monument 2000 by the World Monument Watch Society.
Tours of the Neutra VDL Research House II are available by appointment only. For more information or to schedule a tour of the house, e-mail McCown at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (323) 953-0224.
The A+D Museum exhibit was co-curated by two Cal Poly Pomona faculty: Lauren Weiss Bricker, assistant professor of Architecture, and Judith Sheine, department chair and professor of Architecture. Architecture students Omrana Ahmed, Adam Pollonais, Faisal Ali Rajper, Daniel Romero and Ken Wong were also enlisted to help. The A+D Museum is located at 8560 W. Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. For museum hours, call (310) 659-2445.