• barbara lamprecht, m.arch.

    more than a modern building historian
    equipping 20th century buildings for the 21st

Orange Coast College: Neutra, Alexander, Eckbo

These are materials related to the original architecture, designed by Neutra and Alexander; and original  landscape architecture, Garrett Eckbo, for Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa. Source: UCLA, Charles E. Young Research Library, Special Collections, Collection 1179, Richard and Dion Neutra Papers. A wonderful collection of contemporary images by Les Katow can be found at https://picasaweb.google.com/lskatow/NeutraOrangeCoastCollege?feat=email … Continue reading

Neutra’s Boomerang Chair

http://www.vs-neutra.com/# We know the architecture of Richard Neutra as sleek and sophisticated.  All those straight lines and planes of wood, glass, or stucco … all sliding and shifting in elegant compositions of asymmetry. It’s thoroughly pedigreed. Metacool Modernism. I think that’s what many of us, especially those of us who don’t own a Neutra house, … Continue reading

“Untamed Orange”: Schuller, Neutra, and Semper at the Garden Grove Arboretum

Throughout the entire campus of the former Crystal Cathedral there is only one single note of color on a building. A large orange panel terminates the long length of glass on the east face of the former Garden Grove Community Church, the famous “drive-in” church designed by Richard Neutra (1892 – 1970) in 1960 and … Continue reading

Neutra’s Boomerang Chair: Fanfare for the Common Man

The Boomerang Chair, apparently, is a contradiction. Its playful shape, its materials of cloth and plywood, is not what we expect from a proper mid-century chair. And it certainly doesn’t fit our stereotype of Richard Neutra: a thoroughly pedigreed Modernism: sleek and coolly sophisticated. Shouldn’t his furniture be all chrome and black leather, or pale … Continue reading

Two Sister Buildings: America Demolishes the Cyclorama, Pakistan Saves the Embassy

After a well-executed legal battle of 13 years, including a 1998 determination by the National Register of Historic Places of its “exceptional historic and architectural significance,” the Gettysburg Memorial known as the Cyclorama has been demolished by the National Park Service. Dedicated November 19, 1962, demolition of the structure commenced February 18, 2013 with asbestos … Continue reading

Neural networks, courtesy of  a lot of white pantyhose and even more creativity.

From Brain to Building and Back: Two Conferences on Architecture and Neuroscience

Two conferences on neuroscience and architecture, the first in September and oriented to science, the second in November more weighted in architecture and architectural theory, are a comment itself on the growing recognition of the potential connection between the two disciplines. It’s difficult not to compare the two gatherings. Both venues were seminal works designed … Continue reading

Karachi Partridge Exterior Site Looking East

The Obsolescence of Optimism? Neutra and Alexander’s U.S. Embassy, Karachi, Pakistan

View of the former U.S. Embassy, Karachi, Pakistan. Photo by Lucien Hervé. Source: scanned from Richard Neutra 1961 – 1966, Buildings and Projects, Thames and Hudson. Camera facing southwest. Dedicated to the Honorable John Christopher Stevens, Ambassador of the United States of America: What happens to an outmoded mid-century American embassy? Given the consistently tortured relationship … Continue reading

Mariners Medical Art Center, Newport Beach, California

Below is my response May 3, 2012, to a proposal that would drastically alter one of Neutra’s best works, Mariners Medical Arts Center. The original project architect was John Blanton, a lead designer in Neutra’s office, an especially gifted designer who while self-effacing, skillfully acquitted Neutra’s intentions. The letter, addressed to the planner in charge … Continue reading

Endangered Ecstasy: The Connell House, Pebble Beach, Richard Neutra, 1958

The facade simultaneously invites entry but affords privacy, shielding both the house beyond as well as the sweeping views from the cliff down to the sea, views privileged to the owner. Note, too, how Neutra slows your journey to the front door, a strategy he witnessed in Japan.  The  flawlessly sited 4,124-square-foot 1958 Connell House by … Continue reading


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