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Build your own Richard Neutra House…

Neutra CoverNow that’s a blog post title to grab the attention of architects with a love for Modernism..

Richard Neutra, one of the best American architects of last century gained a reputation for designing beautiful and elegant houses, mostly on the West Coast, mostly with large overhanging flat roofs and azure blue swimming pools but always with an enviable style and conviction.

Well I’ve just read on Architizer, that thanks to a new partnership between the Neutra Architectural Office, Richard Neutra’s son Dion (who took over the office after his father’s death in 1970) and the California Architecture Conservancy, it’s now possible to buy a licence that allows you to build a brand new house from the original plans of 12 of Richard Neutra’s finest designs, including the Lovell Heath House, The Richard Bailey House and the Kaufmann House (click on the document to the left to find out more…)

I’ve been thinking about this rather intriguing offer, and I can’t work out who I think it’s aimed at.. Will a 60+ year old Neutra house designed for a specific site in California, work as well (or at all) in contemporary Dubai, Coventry, Moscow or Buenos Aires? Surely local constraints would make an exact replica impossible, and arguably inadvisable: flat roofs in Oslo, swimming pools in Reykjavik…

At college we talked much about the Genius Loci of a place, the spirit or uniqueness of a location that should inform any development proposed there. Despite the usual lazy criticisms of Modernist architecture being a universal solution and non site specific, Neutra’s version of Modernism was most definitely a tailored response. Not only to the immediate landscape and the client brief, but also to the technical innovations available at the time, and you only have to look at the Case Study Houses programme to appreciate the variety and quality that Neutra brought to his designs and which can be seen in these images below of the Kaufmann House from 1946.

kaufmann House view

Kaufmann House floor plan

Kaufmann House_1

Maybe this project is more about taking the essence of the original design (the key moves if you like: flat planes, rectilinear geometries, lots of glass) and then using them to make another building, which by definition won’t be the first building, which takes us back to the beginning of the conundrum (who is this aimed at) and which then begs the question, why don’t the design office of Dion & Richard Neutra use their skill, knowledge and experience to, wait for it… create a brand new house designed specifically to fit the clients requirements…

Still it would be pretty cool to own a Richard Neutra House, and if you were fortunate to own a site overlooking the sea, in a warm sunny climate (and this is no longer available) then why not…

Lovell Heath House_2

Bailey House_1

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  1. May 4, 2013 at 15:55

    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright infringement?

    My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being ripped off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

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