Friday, 19 June 2009

Rather a lot of Richard Neutra

26 April - A full day spent in the company of the excellent and knowledgeable architectural historian Barbara Lamprecht looking at the works of Richard 'how many square feet does it take to lead the good life' Neutra and his disciples and students. First up the two Kun Houses. No 1 was undergoing extensive restoration and No 2 (1949) had recently been through the process. A few liberties had been taken but the house was stunning. Jaki Howes was probably fortunate that the Clerk has managed to mislay the photo of her lying on the back doorstep trying to photograph the kitchen through the cat flap. At least that what we think she was doing!

The 1961 Taylor Residence was neat and tidy and we did our best to keep it that way by removing our shoes for the visit. Very much a collectors piece thoughtfully arranged with separate visitors' quarters.

At the 1955 Taylor House (below left) we finally encountered a house in which children were numbered among the residents.

A U shaped plan with one leg at a higher level than the others. The neighouring houses in most directions seemed to have been designed by Neutra who may well have been the joint developer.

(above right) the 1933 VDL Research House (named in honour of his patron - the Dutch philanthropist CH Van Der Leeuw who gave Neutra an intrest free loan to fund the project). Tis was considered a radical glass house with rooftop and balcony gardens. It was heavily remodelled in 1963 by Neutra Pere et Fils following a disasterous fire. Now in the care of an academic establishment it is interesting rather than uplifting needing, as it does, quite a lot of money spending on it. Might well be difficult to live in these days.

We were walked past the 1953 Perkins Residence which looked decided stylish and a house by RN disciples Harwell Hamilton Harris (1053) before finishing the day at the Wirick Residence by Buff Straub and Hensman for its current owners. The practice was responsible for two of the Case Study Houses (Nos 20 and 28) and this was a typical example of their post and beam construction technique. The gracious hostess kindly arranged refreshments for the group and had the original drawings on display for our inspection. A delightful and comfortable house and a pleasure to visit.

1 comment:

  1. California seems to be the Cornwall of 2009.