International Style Architect and Visionary – Richard Neutra

Richard Neutra is heralded as one of the most significant architects of the Modernist era.

 

Neutra was born in 1892 in Vienna; his love for architecture grew during this childhood. He attended the Sophiengynmasium in Vienna until 1910, and also studied at the Vienna University of Technology for eight years, from 1910 to 1918. During 1921, Richard Neutra moved to Luckenwalde , Germany to be one of the city’s chief architects; later that year, he joined the offices of Erich Mendelsohn in Berlin, where he continued to lend his architectural sensibilities to commercial and residential construction.  In 1923, Neutra constructed the Adolf Sommerfeld houses while working for Mendelshon. The homes includes straight architectural lines, muted colors and multiple levels. 1923 was also the year that Neutra moved to the United States; he became a citizen in 1929.

The homes that Richard Neutra built displayed a combination of Southern California construction traditions and Bauhaus modernism. His most notable works include the Lovell House in Los Angeles, which was constructed between 1927 and 1929, the Anna Stern house in California built in 1934, and the Kaufman Desert House, in Palm Springs California, constructed in 1946 and 1947. The Lovell House was one of the most appealing architectural structures of the time, in both Europe and America. The house was also similar to the work of other famed European architects like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. The Kaufman Desert house, which displayed the construction philosophies that Neutra adopted later in his career, displayed elegance and layered horizontal planes.

In December of 1957, Richard Neutra was a guest lecturer at the North Carolina State University School of Design. Neutra decided to lead the students in the class to write a holiday letter to Frank Lloyd Wright, who is also an innovative figure in architecture. He also used his teaching abilities to instruct his son Dion in the ways of construction and design. In 1965, Neutra partnered with his son to form Richard and Dion Neutra and Associates.  The following year, Richard Neutra moved back to Vienna; he passed away in 1970 in Germany. However, the design firm Neutra formed with his son is still in business, and continues to service residential and commercial clients.


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