Monday, September 28, 2009

Living in a Neutra


I am not one of those lucky few who gets to live in a home designed by a world renowned architect, however this past week I have been fortunate enough to be staying in a house designed by a renown architect. I am currently house sitting in a Case Study house designed by Richard Neutra, the architect originally from Vienna who came to Los Angeles via Chicago after working for Frank Lloyd Wright. Throughout Southern California, Neutra was known for his work of mid century modern homes (and buildings) he designed. As long as I can recall, I have been a fan of both Neutra & RM Schindler (another Viennese architect who along with Neutra left Austria for work with Lloyd Wright before settling in Los Angeles).

My earliest influence of mid century modernism wasn't in school, but at my pediatrician's office! How can that be, you ask? Because the medical plaza where my doctor's office was in a Neutra designed building located on Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach. Going to the doc: not so fun. Having my mom let my brother and I dip our hands into the shallow reflecting pools lined through out the walkways: fun. It must have been subliminal influence. Even later, when in design school, I designed a 1,000 sq foot home that I likened to the influence of Neutra/Schindler. That aside, spending the last few days at this residential home designed by Neutra has once again sparked influence. An influence of how to embrace the indoor/outdoor living of these modern masterpieces, the way the home is positioned on the site, that through each and every window there are dynamic views, that the natural lighting is balanced and in harmony thorough out the house, the way shadows are cast from certain details. All in all, these homes have a left a mark in the world of architecture and design that has influenced a great many.


The Neutra home that I am currently staying at is a "compound" comprised of three structures: the main house, a guest house/office space, and the garage, with breezeways and a main entry that leads into a central courtyard.


The medical plaza in Newport Beach designed by Neutra, where my peditrician's office was located.


A notable house by Neutra, is the Kaufmann House located in Palm Springs, CA. (Photographed by Julius Shulman)


The Chuey House in Los Angeles by Neutra (photographed by Julius Shulman).

Interestingly enough, over the weekend the Los Angeles Times published in article about the availability of these homes on the market today. Two articles worth reading: Architectural gems for Sale and The best houses of all time in LA.

[Have any of you ever stayed in a home designed by a prominent architect? If so, please share your experience.]

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