TRAPPED BY MIDCENTURY MORES: Mary Roberts teaches Richard Neuta a Painful Life Lesson

There are lots of nice stories about how a house came to be. Architect and client so very pleased at the handsome outcome. Nice photographs. Big smiles. And then there are the stories that haunt you.   One such project haunted its architect, Richard Neutra …yet looking at the house in question, you’d swear it … Continue reading

Intertwined Agendas: Comparing the Lovell houses, Schindler and Neutra

Notes for a Talk: Comparing the “Two Lovells,” Rudolf M. Schindler’s Lovell Beach House, Newport Beach, 1926; Richard J. Neutra’s Lovell Health House, Los Angeles, 1929.  A PORTRAIT OF INTERTWINED AGENDAS –  Transcending Style Both architects and both buildings attempt to transcend the constraints of “style,” and in that both support Adolf Loos’s famous dictum … Continue reading

Neutra’s Emerson Junior High School: Reconceiving Education

Statement of Significance Emerson Junior High School Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School in Westwood, Los Angeles, is significant as one of America’s leading examples of 1930s Modernism in the International Style. Funded during the height of the Great Depression by the Public Work Administration (PWA) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and largely completed by the … Continue reading

From Luckenwalde to Los Angeles: Neutra’s Forgotten Forest Cemetery

From Luckenwalde to Los Angeles: Neutra’s Forgotten Forest Cemetery Context: A symposium held by the Historical Society of Southern California at the Autry Museum, Saturday 2 April 2010 on Los Angeles 1919 to 1945,  addressed art, photography, music, literary culture, and architecture. One speaker was invited to address each arena. I contributed the presentation on architecture, and … Continue reading

At first glance, Modernism’s Stolid Soldier: Neutra and Alexander’s Los Angeles County Hall of Records

I had always considered the Los Angeles County Hall of Records, 1962, to be a soldierly but stolid example of mid-century Modernism. Reconsidering it through a visit and looking at correspondence was a revelation. In fact, this building, primarily famous for the technical prowess of its striking 120-foot-tall, south-facing aluminum louvers, is really a lesson … Continue reading

Orange Coast College: Neutra, Alexander, Eckbo

Orange Coast College’s original legacy campus, the world’s only  college campus designed by the powerful trio of master architect Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander with master landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, Eckbo, Royston and Williams, is proposed to be demolished. Neutra and Alexander were assisted by noted Orange County architect William Blurock, FAIA, among others. Here … 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

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

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