Neutra Reunion House in Silver Lake

Front steps leading to the Neutra Reunion House.

Silver Lake - The Reunion House on Neutra Place - a modernist, hillside design of overhanging eaves, horizontal lines and floor-to-ceiling windows - has been recommended as a city Historic-Cultural Monument.

The Cultural Heritage Commission voted with one abstention Thursday to approve the application, even though COVID-related issues had prevented members of the commission from visiting the site.

The single-family residence at 2440 North Neutra Place - which now has an apartment above the garage - was built in 1951 by Richard Neutra, “regarded as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century,” according to architectural historian Barbara Lamprecht, who prepared the application.

Influenced early on by Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy of “breaking the box,” Neutra rose to fame with the design of the Lovell Health House in Los Feliz. He went on to build hundreds of homes across the world, as well as works such as the Adelphi University Swirbul Library in Garden City, New York, and the University of Southern California Child Guidance Clinic in Westwood.

Though the Reunion House was originally built for Arthur and Kathryn Johnson, it was purchased in 1966 by the architect’s family. Richard Neutra’s son, Dion Neutra, became the owner.

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“Richard Neutra’s design was already a superb example of his mastery in manipulating his typical vocabulary of point, line, and plane in the architectural context of shifting solids and voids,” Lamprecht said.

Subsequent alterations by Dion Neutra - such as the 450-square-foot addition above the garage - only added to the significance of the property, since they were highly compatible with Richard Neutra’s design intent, according to Lamprecht.

Richard Neutra himself named the property “Reunion House” during the design phase, since he planned it to accommodate family reunions, Lamprecht said.

A different Silver Lake house by Richard Neutra - the VDL Research House - was named a National Historic Landmark in 2019 by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

The Reunion House now goes before the City Council, which will officially decide whether to approve it as a Historic-Cultural Monument.

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