An architecturally significant home gifted to Cal Poly Pomona in 1980 will be part of an Oct. 4-5 conference in Los Angeles that will investigate the power of experimental art installations to remake the spatial and social realities of modernist house museums.
Cal Poly Pomona and the College of Environmental Design are the owners and caretakers of the Neutra VDL House, which was designed and lived in by Richard Neutra, one of the most influential architects of the modernist era and a former Cal Poly Pomona professor.
“Intervention: Contemporary Artists and the Modern House” will examine how different historic houses are revitalized and offer insight into philosophical approaches to a period of architecture, the conflicts surrounding viewing architecture as artifact, and debates over preservation versus reuse, according to www.neutra-vdl.org, the Neutra VDL House website. The conference, which will also take place at the MAK Center and Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, provides an opportunity for house curators, preservationist, designers, artists and historians to present and discuss the body of knowledge that has emerged from these experimental projects, according to the website.
Panelists will include Xavier Veilhan, considered to be one of the leading artists of his generation, and Santiago Borja, a conceptual artist from Mexico City, as well as directors of several modernist houses, including Sarah Lorenzen, chair of the Department of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and director of the Neutra VDL House. Lorenzen will be on a morning panel on Oct. 4 at the Schindler’s Kings Road House at the MAK Center, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood.
The keynote speaker for the conference will be Jorge Otero-Pailos, an architect, historian and theorist, who is an associate professor of architecture, planning, and preservation at Columbia University. Otero-Pailos will speak in the afternoon on Oct. 5 at the Hollyhock House, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.
The Neutra VDL House at 2300 Silver Lake Blvd. will host a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., Oct. 4, as part of the conference. To reserve a spot at the reception, visit https://bit.ly/interventionreception.
Neutra lived on the property for 40 years, and it is where he completed the majority of the 300 projects that were built under his name. He is considered by many to be the second most known architect after Frank Lloyd Wright and was on the cover of Time magazine in August 1949.
Neutra served as a professor at Cal Poly Pomona in 1969 during a joint appointment with the architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning departments, but he passed away in 1970. Neutra’s wife, Dione, donated the house in 1980 to the university’s College of Environmental Design. When Dione passed away in 1990, the house was deeded to the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation. The College of Environmental Design and the Department of Architecture were tasked with maintaining the house.
The Neutra VDL House is highlighted by its use of glass as well as reflecting pools and rooftop gardens. Tours of the Neutra House, which are free for Cal Poly Pomona faculty, staff and students, are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and are given by College of Environmental Design students.
For tour information, visit https://bit.ly/neutratour.