Richard Neutra was one of the most important architects of the mid century modern period.
He was born and studied in Vienna and moved to the US -California- in 1923, where he brought the mid century modern style.
Richard Neutra became famous for his geometric but airy structures -made of steel and glass- and because he created a Californian variation of the mid century modern style. He was also known for giving particular attention to the real needs of his clients -regardless of the size of the project- contrarily to many of his colleagues who imposed their artistic vision.
The Richard Neutra style was a blend of art, landscape and comfort.
The Kronish House.
The Kronish house was commissioned to Richard Neutra’s studio in 1954 by local tract developer Herbert Kronish.
Designed in 1955, the Kronish House is one of the largest residential projects commissioned to Richard Neutra’s studio. The house is located in the famous Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills -it was built over a property formerly owned by actress Shirley Temple- at the end of a long drive shaded by trees: the 7000 square feet villa is made of steel, glass and concrete.
(pic via neutra.org)
The property was originally intended as a residence for Kronish and his new bride and it represents an example of Richard Neutra’s utmost care to his clients’ needs: among other unusual requirements, Kronish asked to have a set of mirrors installed on the ceiling of his wife’s dressing room and Carrara glass to line the walls of the master bathroom.
As in other Richard Neutra works, the Kronish house has an airy and light structure where – following the mid century open floor plan philosophy- spaces communicate with each others and with the landscape at the same time, treating light as part of the architecture.
So, Why Such a Dramatic Headline?
After all this, you are probably thinking that such an amazing place is probably part of an historic conservation plan -like it happens for many other modernist houses around the world- and wondering how you could visit it if you stop to LA or if you live close to it…
Well, if everything goes as planned, this great example of mid century modern architecture will be demolished on 10 October 2011; yes.
The house was bought in January this year and the new owners -Soda Partners- asked and obtained from Beverly Hills council, -that doesn’t have a preservation ordinance for historic houses like this one- the permission to demolish it.
Thanks to the interest of the architect Dion Neutra -Richard Neutra’s son- the owners accepted to postpone the demolition -originally planned for the middle of July- to Oct. 10th. In the meanwhile Dion Neutra is trying to raise 15M dollars to save the house.
(pics via MidCenturia)
Because the owners are interested in the land itself, they agreed to eventually let move the house somewhere else, but the large concrete slabs make this option improbable.
Of course, the biggest hope is to attract some rich philanthropist to buy the house and donate it to the community.
(Update: the house has been bought by a generous buyer)