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Richard Neutra’s Lovell House was constructed between 1927 and 1929 and is widely considered the first steel frame house in the United States. The Los Angeles house is a classic example of the international style, which was influenced by the principles developed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Lovell House was included in the 1932 exhibition of International style architecture at Museum of Modern Art The house was built for Phillip Lovell, a physician and naturopath and his health conscious family. The house reveals the influence industrial production had on Neutra, particularly through the many factory produced windows. Lovell house consists of a series of overlapping planes which hang off the side of a steep cliff. The design of the house takes in the panoramic view of Los Angeles from up high in the hills. The house is accessed from the street via a concrete walkway which leads on to the upper level. The upper level consists of the living quarters and a staircase which leads to the open plan lower level living room. The cantilevered planes hang over the outdoor swimming pool in a gravity defying design. As the house is built in to the side of a cliff it is tethered by a tension cable in to the cliff. The interior design is a reflection of Neutra’s interest in cubism and transparency. Neutra’s minimalist interiors showed some influence of modernist architect Irving Gill. Neutra was known for forming close relationships with his clients. He spent time analysing his clients and building houses to fill their needs. Lovell House is remembered as a turning point in Neutra’s career and an architecture of firsts, it remains a monumental building in architectural history. 

Source: http://www.archdaily.com

"As an architect, my life has been governed by the goal of building environmental harmony, functional efficiency, and human enhancement into the experience of everyday living. These things go together, constituting the cause of architecture, and a life devoted to their realization cannot be an easy one…

I have been privileged, or perhaps doomed, to eschew simpler, lighter burdens. Shaping man’s surroundings entails a lot more than spatial, structural, mechanical, and other technical considerations—certainly a lot more than pontificating about matters of style. Our organic well-being is dependent on a wholesome, salubrious environment. Therefore exacting attention has to be paid to our intricate sensory world.”

The Kaufmann house, also knows as the Kaufmann Desert house was built in Palm Springs by Richard Neutra in 1946. The house was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr who had a decade earlier commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build Fallingwater. The Kaufmann house was designed to be a retreat from the harsh winters of Kaufmann Senior’s home town of Pittsburgh. The home has a strong connection to the desert landscape upon which it’s built while protecting against the elements. The large house features five bedrooms, including two staff bedrooms, and incorporates a central open plan living space. The house branches off like a pinwheel from the central living space, with each branch maintaining its own specific function. The North and South Wings are the most public as they include walkways to the living quarters. The West wing includes staff quarters while the East wing is the most private as it includes the master suite. The pool is an iconic feature of the house, and the entire Kaufmann house was made famous by images captured by photographer Julius Schulmann in 1947. The flow between inside and outside is effortless through large expanses of glass that slide open. The house is light and airy due to the open plan layout and the vast use of glass. Neutra used dry set stone to blend in to the desert environment and give the house a contextual meaning. 

After owner Kaufmann died in 1955 the house remained vacant for many years. The home then went through a series of owners and suffered a few misguided renovations. These renovations included adding floral wallpaper to some of the bedrooms, knocking down a wall to create a media room and enclosing an outdoor patio. In 1992 Brent Harris and Beth Harris, an architectural historian purchased the house with the intention of returning it to its original condition. The couple went to great lengths to return Neutra’s masterpiece to its former glory. The original plans to the house were no longer available so the couple sought through archives and hired two architects. The restoration was a success and Neutra’s Kaufmann house is constantly ranking as one of the greatest homes of the 20th century. Many critics regard the home as a modernist masterpiece that is one of the most significant residential builds of the 20th century. 

Source: http://www.archdaily.com


Richard Neutra’s Kronish House was commissioned in 1954 by Herbet Kronish, and constructed in 1955.  The house is located at 9439 Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California and is Neutra’s largest residential build in Southern California. The house sits back behind a 250 foot long drive way on a 2 acre plot of land. The 7,000 square feet of interior space include six bedrooms and five and a half bathrooms. The house is built using large expanses of glass and steel and is a modernist masterpiece. Kronish house is an example of Neutra’s ability to cater to his clients, among other strange requests Kronish asked that there be a room full of mirrors for his wife’s dressing room. Not only did Neutra deliver this to his client, but he did so in style. Kronish house is light filled and airy with a typical modernist open floor plan. Neutra placed significance on the way spaces relate to each other and to the landscape around them. 

In 2011 the house faced demolition as it was in very poor condition, however the Los Angeles Conservancy and advocacy, including Neutra’s son Dion, lobbied against the Beverly Hills council to delay demolition. The house was eventually repurchased later that year and saved from demolition. Due to this case, the city of Beverly Hills passed a local preservation ordinance which demanded there be a 30 day waiting period for altercations to houses designed by ‘master’ architects. Kronish house is one of only three homes Neutra built in Beverly Hills and sadly the last remaining. 

Source: http://www.midcenturyhome.com

Design predictions for 2014 include eco friendly designs as much of society pines for a greener future. Environmentalist bill McKibben believes that society must act soon as fossil fuel is destroying the planet, and that 2014 will be the year people finally listen and make a change. Amanda Dameron, editor at Dwell magazine has many green hopes for the year, including cities which promote walking and biking instead of driving. As many people purchase items online, Amanda hopes that manufactures will alter their packaging materials to more eco friendly materials. Amanda also hopes that people continue to support their local businesses to minimise the pollution caused by shipping. Emily Pilloton is the founder and executive director at Project H Design, a project which aims to involve young people and bring the community together. When people build in their own communities it is more rewarding to construct efficient infrastructures. This is a way of life for Emily as she believes there is hope for the future and that hope lies within the youth of today getting involved in their community.

According to the Rony Mikal yellow will be the colour most used in interior design as it is bold and happy. Vintage patterns are set to make a huge return as everything that is vintage is in.  Exotic and vibrant fabrics will be seen hanging in the trendiest interiors this year. It’s out with clutter and in with space this year. Minimalist interiors are still very much in vogue as people love to feel their homes are spacious. Fabrics made from highly textured materials are set to be all the rage, from sheepskin rugs to suede seating. People love to feel the touch of soft and textured fabric so 2014 will see the return of stimulating fabrics.  Rock and roll is still very much alive as rock and roll artworks and prints will be the height of edgy interior design. Grey is the new black, as it’s not so stark and has a touch of warmth to it. 

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Richard Neutra was an Austrian American architect who lived and work most of his life in Southern California.  He was born in Vienna in 1892 and attended the Sophiegymnasium in Vienna until 1910. Neutra then studied under the great architect Adolf Loos at the Vienna University of Technology from 1910-1918.  Here he was a student to Max Fabiani and Karl Mayreder, both influential architects of their time. Neutra went on a study trip to Italy and the Balkins in 1912. The outbreak of World War I saw Neutra leave for Switzerland where he worked under Gustav Amman, a landscape architect. For a short period of time he was the city architecting a small German town of Luckenwalde. His love of architecture continued in to his personal life and in 1922 he married Dione Niedermann, the daughter of an architect.

Neutra and his new wife emigrated to America in 1923 where his love of modernism began. Soon after arriving in America Neutra met Frank Lloyd Wright who hired  him to work for him in Wisconsin. After there was no further work for Neutra in Wisconsin, he returned to California and began to work under famed architect Rudolf Schindler. From the years 1927- 1969 Neutra designed more than 300 houses in California, and very few elsewhere. Neutra is known to have coined the term ‘borealis’ which means ‘the inherent and inseparable relationship between man and nature’. This quote explores Neutra’s deep passion towards nature and the necessity for architecture to complement its environment. 

Source: http://www.ncmodernist.org/neutra.htm