Praise and pity for Silver Lake’s Neutra masterpiece

Photo by Vincha/Flickr

Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House in Silver Lake has drawn fans from the around the world to take a look at the former residence of the legendary modernist architect.  The house on Silver Lake Boulevard “exemplifies the dream of American Modernism” and is “one of the most important buildings in America,” says a story in the Wall Street Journal.  However, this masterpiece of modernism is also a major fixer upper.  Money has been raised to make repairs but much more needs to be done. Said the Journal:

Unfortunately, in the past few decades, the house has withered into a state of perilous disrepair. Neutra’s home was given to Cal Poly Pomona University by his widow upon her death in 1990, and now feels more like something out of a crumbling section of Havana than the crown jewel of an American city. The house you will find, with empty fountains, broken windows and cracking veneers, is a house the way Miss Havisham is a lady: once lovely and delicate, always compelling, never too late to rescue. So come soon.

Cal Poly Pomona, which now owns and manages the property, has been accepting online donations for those who want to become “A Friend of the VDL.”

No comments

  1. It’s a shame. If USC owned the house, it would be fabulous. Frankly, Cal Poly Pomona has not been a very good steward of this gem.


    What a pity. I remember years ago when I intercepted a call meant for the switchboard and Richard Neutra was on the line to invite our horticulturist to a soiree at his home. He started to explain who he was and I assured him he needed no introduction. A true gentleman, he thanked me and then invited me and a friend to join them as well.
    A lovely evening including a tour of the house and grounds above Silver Lake and a musical interlude by his charming wife on the cello.
    Every time I’ve passed the house, I’ve smiled at the memory. Haven’t been by there for a while and now I am so glad I have not. It would be a heart breaking experience.

  3. re opinionated old lady sez:
    what a cool story!!

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