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Monocle 24 Visit Richard Neutra's Residences in Los Angeles

In the latest episode of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team visit Richard Neutra's iconic modernist Neutra VDL Studio residential complex and Residences in Los Angeles. Though Modernism has often been criticised for imposing universal rules on people and areas, it was Neutra's intense client focus that won him acclaim.

"Baby Rems" and the Small World of Architecture Internships

The world of architecture is small. So small in fact, that Rem Koolhaas has been credited with the creation of over forty practices worldwide, led by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels. Dubbed “Baby Rems” by Metropolis Magazine, this Koolhaas effect is hardly an isolated pattern, with manifestations far beyond the walls of OMA. The phenomenon has dominated the world of architecture, assisted by the prevalence and increasing necessity of internships for burgeoning architects.

In a recent article for Curbed, Patrick Sisson dug into the storied history of internships to uncover some unexpected connections between the world's most prolific architects. With the help of Sisson's list, we've compiled a record of the humble beginnings of the household names of architecture. Where did Frank Gehry get his start? Find out after the break.

Renzo Piano's pavilion at Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum. Image © Robert Laprelle Jeanne Gang worked on OMA's Maison Bordeaux. Image © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA Mies van der Rohe worked on Behren's AEG Turbine Factory. Image © Flickr CC user Joseph The Guaranty Building in Buffalo, New York by Louis Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Jack E. Boucher

AD Round Up: American Classics

Happy Fourth of July! In recognition of Independence Day in the United States, ArchDaily has assembled six of our favorite "American Classics." Featuring projects by Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, and Richard Meier, each of these canonical works occupies a prominent place in twentieth-century American architecture. See them all after the break.

American Perspectives: From Classic to Contemporary

The opening of the exhibition American Perspectives: From Classic to Contemporary presents the hand-drawn worlds of prominent American architects and architectural draftsmen. The art of architectural representation in the USA, particularly at the beginning of the 20th century, reached heights of originality and perfection, which still stands out today. On show will be works by Frank Lloyed Wright, Richard Neutra, Lebbeus Woods and Achilles Rizzoli.

Exhibition: Sketch to Structure

Sketch to Structure unfolds the architectural design process to show how buildings take shape. With sketches, plans, blueprints, renderings, and models from the Heinz Architectural Center collection, this exhibition reveals that architectural design, from initial concept to client presentation, isn’t straightforward.

Spotlight: Richard Neutra

© Klaus Meier-Ude via
© Klaus Meier-Ude via

Though Modernism is sometimes criticized for imposing universal rules on different people and areas, but it was Richard J. Neutra's (April 8, 1892 – April 16, 1970) intense client focus that won him acclaim. His personalized and flexible version of modernism created a series of private homes that were and are highly sought after, and make him one of the United States' most significant mid century modernists. His architecture of simple geometry and airy steel and glass became the subject of the iconic photographs of Julius Schulman, and came to stand for an entire era of American design.

Singleton House, 1960. Image © Julius Schulman An old post card of the Cyclorama. Image Courtesy of flickr user fauxto_digit Kaufmann House, 1947. Image Courtesy of Wikiarquitectura Kaufmann House, 1947. Image © Julius Schulman

The Berlage Archive: Julius Shulman (2000)

In this 2000 Berlage Institute lecture, titled "Neutra's Architecture and Modernism in California," American architectural photographer Julius Shulman outlines a twofold mission: to introduce his two new books, Modernism Rediscovered, and Neutra: Complete Works, and to speak to architectural students and educators who are responsible for the future of the field. Highly jovial and personable, Shulman starts off on a playful tone, inviting audience members to sit on the floor next to him and insisting on the informality of his lecture; he begins by describing how he met Richard Neutra, purely by chance, and made history with the iconic photograph of the Kaufman House, solely through a rebellious desire to pursue a beautiful sunset.

Shulman speaks of Neutra both affectionately and critically. He advises, "Those of you who hope to be architects, please be human about how people live in your house. Don't wipe it clean and empty the way Neutra used to do it, because he was more interested in the image of a house - pure architecture, without furniture." The lecture introduces Shulman's photographs of Modernist homes in California, including Frank Gehry's first house, Shulman's own house and studio by Raphael Soriano, and works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller, before moving on to briefly introduce projects from his vast archives. Pierluigi Serraino joins him halfway through the lecture to discuss the process of writing their publication, Modernism Rediscovered, and the responsibilities of an architectural photographer. 

The lecture demonstrates the incredible breadth of Shulman's portfolio, his fascinating thought process, and an indefatigable spirit. When describing the moment when he broke away from Neutra's admonishment in order to photograph the exquisite sky above the Kaufman House, the iconic photographer enthuses,"Don't ever hesitate. If you want to do something, whether it's to design a house or kiss a beautiful woman, or whatever you want to do, do it! No one's going to stop you."

How Three Colleges Brought Modernist Design to the US

Though modernism was developed in the 1920s, and was popular among many architects by the time the 1930s arrived, in many places it took years for the style to gain favor among clients. In the USA, people often point to the 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower Competition as a turning point, the winning entry was actually a neo-gothic design. In this article, which originally appeared on Curbed, Marni Epstein looks at another potential turning point: three high-profile competitions in the late 1930s where modernist designs were (sometimes controversially) successful.

The Great Depression of the 1930s hit everyone, and hard—even architects and draftsmen found themselves out of work as development and construction dried up amid vanishing capital. They found a partial solution in the Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record, two programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration that involved surveying and cataloging the country's existing infrastructure. These programs, however, were a long way from the prestige, creativity, and financial rewards that came with new architectural commissions. The work available was limited, and what work existed was focused on the architecture of the past, not designs for the future. 

25 Free Architecture Books You Can Read Online

If you don't have access to an architecture library (and even if you do), sifting through shelves can take hours. Buying books can be even more painful — for your wallet, at least. Instead, why not browse this list of 25 books that are all free and easily accessible online? Some are well-known classics of architecture literature, but we hope you find a few surprises as well.

Why Do Bad Guys Always Get The Best Houses?

In this interesting article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote dissects two Hollywood homes that are infamous as the homes of slick movie bad guys. The Lovell Health House designed by Richard Neutra appeared in LA Confidential as the home of pornographer and pimp Pierce Patchett; the Sheats Goldstein Residence appeared in The Big Lebowski - again as the home of a pornographer - and was designed by none other than "Hollywood's favourite architect" John Lautner. Heathcote probes the two architects' design influences and ideas, and of course offers an explanation as to why ""bad guys always seem to get the best houses". You can read the full article here.

Build Your Own Neutra Home!

The mid-century modern master, Richard Neutra was well known for his cutting edge modernism. Since Julius Shulman immortalized his houses in his iconic photographs, Neutra's bright, airy homes have widely been seen as the pinacle of modernism and desirability. One problem though, they're in high demand and it's not exactly like they're making any more Neutra buildings; in fact, quite the opposite is true and as a result they have become a pretty expensive commodity.

Read more about how to get your very own Neutra home after the break...

Neutra House Temporarily Spared by Community Action

The Kronish House in Beverly Hills, California. From Mark Angeles via Unlimited Style
The Kronish House in Beverly Hills, California. From Mark Angeles via Unlimited Style

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.

Joan Didion

Community pressure has swayed the owners of Richard Neutra‘s Kronish House to postpone plans for demolition, and has also prompted the city of Beverly Hills to draft legislation to preserve its architectural history. The house been spared until at least October 10 in order to give community activists time to devise a plan for its restoration. In a related, ground-breaking action the Beverly Hills City Council has asked the city’s Planning Commission to enact a first-ever historic-preservation ordinance.

Architecture City Guide: Los Angeles

The Architecture City Guide series heads to the West Coast this week.  Los Angeles area is huge and it was nearly impossible to narrow down 12 buildings for this weeks list.  Here’s what we suggest visiting if you are in LA, but we want to know what additional buildings you think we should add to our list!  Visit the comment section and provide your can’t miss buildings in LA.

The Architecture City Guide: Los Angeles list and corresponding map after the break!