Neutra VDL Studio and
Residences, the home of architect Richard Neutra, is located at 2300 Silver
Lake Boulevard, in Los Angeles, California.
It is also known as the Neutra
, the Van der Leeuw House
or the Neutra, Richard and Dion, VDL Research House
. It was designed by Richard
and his son Dion
The property was added to the National Register of
(NRHP) on May 8, 2009 and the listing was
announced as the featured listing in the National Park Service
's weekly list of
May 15, 2009.
Originally built in 1932, the 2,000-square-foot house was built for
Neutra and his family and called the VDL Research House because it
was built with a loan from Neutra's early patron, Case H. Van der
Leeuw, a wealthy Dutch industrialist and architecture aficionado.
Neutra and his wife, Dione, raised their three sons at the house.
ran his architecture practice out of a studio in the house until he
later opened his design studio at the Neutra Office
Building on Glendale Boulevard (a property that is also
listed on the National Register of Historic Places).
View of garden house
In his design of the VDL Research House, Neutra sought to show that
the innovations of his Lovell Health
could be incorporated into designs for less affluent
clients. Through use of natural lighting, glass walls opening onto
patio gardens and mirrors, Neutra designed a space that was not
confining and which reflected the nearby lake. Neutra later wrote
the following about the VDL Research House:
"I was convinced that high-density design could succeed
in a fully human way, and I saw my new house as a concrete pilot
I wanted to demonstrate that human beings, brought
together in close proximity, can be accommodated in very satisfying
circumstances, taking in that precious amenity called
So armed with my memories and convictions, and in
direct contrast to the sense-inimical mien of my boyhood
surroundings, I planted three families on my ordinary 60-by-70-foot
lot, next to Silver Lake.
And I was able to arrange things in such a way as to
embellish our lives with abundant plantings and bracing
One felt a great sense of freedom in the VDL, as
everything was carefully planned to avoid interference between the
various zones of the house, and there were many options for getting
off by oneself."
Neutra later took pride in the fact "hundreds of perfect strangers
have been coming by the house every year," many coming to a halt,
"somehow mesmerized, and perhaps wistfully wondering why this
constructive figment of clarity and composure hadn't grown on Los
One critic later said of the house:
"Even a down-on-his-luck architect deserves humane
When the budding Modernist hero Richard Neutra built a
home along Silver Lake Reservoir in 1932, he had a budget of
$10,000 and a tiny sliver of land.
What he built became a nimble experiment in urban
The small rooms in the house are arranged around an open staircase
and have "austere, built-in furniture, all in neutral tones." It
has been said that the "house's strength came from its temporal
quality: Light, water and air were meant to induce a wholesome
life." The house was Neutra's third commission in the United States
and was built four years after the Lovell Health House in Los
Feliz. The Research House later became the focus of a cluster of
ten Neutra-designed houses on Argent Place overlooking Silver
The original house was destroyed by fire in March 1963. Along with
the house, the fire destroyed Neutra's collection of sketches,
writings and architecture library. Neutra's son, Dion Neutra,
rebuilt the house with his father's oversight. The original
footprint of the house was preserved, though a number of changes
were made in the design. One critic later wrote that the "original
clarity was now gone, but the new house gained a jumpy visual
Neutra's widow donated the house, then valued at $207,500, to
Pomona to be used by the university's College of
Environmental Design faculty and students.
The house was in some disrepair and in danger of deteriorating
further, in 2008, when a fund-raising campaign to preserve it was
located just a few hundred yards from the Neutra Office
Building, Neutra's offices during 1950-1970, which is also
is open for tours led by Cal Poly Pomona architecture students on Saturdays.
the only Neutra-designed house that is regularly open to the
- (81 pages, with house plans, design sketches, and 20
- http://www.neutra-vdl.org/site/tours.asp?5162009205517 Neutra
VDL House: Tours