The architectural practice has always been rooted in what people now call “human-centered design”. The term, coined by Irish engineer Mike Cooley in his 1987 publication “Human-Centred Systems” describes a design approach around identifying people’s needs and solving the right problem with simple interventions. Architecture balances between being aesthetic art and practical design. With multiple collaborators and goals for the project, the needs of the end-user often get compromised in the design process. To help architects better design for people, new methodologies may be inspired by human-centered design techniques developed by user experience (UX) designers.
Richard Neutra: The Latest Architecture and News
Human-Centered Design: What Architects Can Learn from UX Designers
Sick Architecture: CIVA Exhibition Explores the Relation between Architecture and Disease
“Sick Architecture” opened on May 5th at CIVA in Brussels. Co-curated by Beatriz Colomina, the exhibition investigates the intrinsic relation between architecture and sickness. The architectural discourse always weaves itself through theories of body and brain, constructing the architect as a kind of doctor and the client as the patient. Architecture has been portrayed as a form of prevention and cure for thousands of years. Yet architecture is also often the cause of illness, from the institution of hospitals to toxic building materials and sick building syndrome. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted this topic.
Spotlight: Richard Neutra
Though Modernism is sometimes criticized for imposing universal rules on different people and areas, 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 still are—highly sought after, making 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.
Spanish Manufacturer Produces Replicas on Richard Neutra's VDL Research House II
The Modernist architect Richard Neutra designed dozens of homes in and around his adopted city of Los Angeles, each one invariably rational, limpid, and generous. These qualities were underscored by Neutra’s wife, Dione, when, later in life, she wrote how “[o]nly those, who have lived in a Neutra house, would ever understand how wonderful the daily satisfactions and delights are and how much this experience helps to augment the joy of living.”
A Virtual Look Into Richard Neutra's Case Study House #20, the Bailey House
The Bailey house—one of Richard Neutra’s four Case Study designs for Arts & Architecture—forms one of five Bluff houses, standing high above the ocean. The brief was to create a low-budget home for a young family, with just two bedrooms, but offering the possibility of expansion as time went by (which did in fact transpire; additional Neutra-designed wings were later built).
Neutra employed the same indoor-outdoor philosophy that can be seen at work in his unbuilt Alpha and Omega houses, using large sliding glass doors to create light and a visual sense of space, as well as ensuring that the house physically opened up to, as he put it, “borrow space from the outdoors.” With this sunny Californian ocean-view setting, it made perfect sense to use the back garden and terrace as living and dining room.
A Virtual Look Into Richard Neutra's Unbuilt Case Study House #13, The Alpha House
Of the four homes designed by Richard Neutra for the Case Study Houses program, post-war thought experiments commissioned by Arts & Architecture, only one was ever realized. In the imaginary village of the program's many unbuilt homes, next to #6, the Omega house, stands #13, named Alpha. Archilogic’s 3D model gives us a unique chance to experience this innovative concept home.
Each of Neutra’s projects was designed for a family of five, and each reveals his psychoanalytic approach to architecture, in which the house itself is an intimate part of family relationships, as important as the personalities involved. (Neutra was personally acquainted with Freud, and a committed follower of birth trauma theorist Otto Rank.) Underlining this Freudian view, his imaginary clients are not just neighbours—they are related; Mrs Alpha being sister to Mrs Omega.
AD Classics: Kings Road House / Rudolf Schindler
Secluded behind a screen of tall bamboo shoots in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, the Kings Road House may be considered the first home ever built in the Modernist style. Designed by Rudolf Schindler in 1921, the architect’s use of tilt-slab concrete construction (highly innovative at the time) and an informal studio layout, set it apart from its contemporaries; indeed, the design would set the tone for other Modernist residential design for decades.
A Virtual Look Into Richard Neutra's Unbuilt Case Study House #6, The Omega House
This 3D model is as close as you can get to the real thing, as Omega House is one of the few Case Study Houses that was never built. Presented early in the case study program of Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, it presents one of the most innovative design concepts in the series, one you can now explore in your browser.
The architect, Richard Neutra, was a celebrity in his own lifetime, and among the most esteemed of the high modernists. Neutra was born in Vienna and already over 30 when he arrived in America in 1923. He worked for Erich Mendelsohn, for Frank Lloyd Wright, and briefly with Rudolph Schindler. Many of his commissions were domestic houses, structures that he managed to make wonderfully photogenic. Neutra carried himself with some of the aristocratic manner of a Mies van der Rohe, but tempered by the lively west coast egalitarianism of Charles and Ray Eames (link to previous project). He made the cover of Time Magazine in the forties, and might be one of the only prominent architects ever to build a drive-in church. Perhaps most remarkably, Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay to The Fountainhead whilst living in a house designed by Neutra.
Film Screening: The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat
Join us for another portrayal of one of America’s greatest architects: Richard Neutra. The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat explores how Neutra, considered the “father of California Modern architecture,” came to befriend this modest small-town family and how he was inspired by the site’s stunning desert setting, which Neutra compared with the grandness of the mystical Gobi Desert.
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.
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.
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...