Neutra VDL

Neutra VDL Studio and Residences
Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design

Seventy-five years ago, in Los Angeles, with a no-interest loan from Dutch philanthropist Dr CH Van Der Leeuw, Viennese-American architect Richard Neutra built a radical "glass house" with rooftop and balcony gardens on Silverlake Boulevard. He called it the VDL Research house, after his benefactor. It was designed to accommodate his office and two families on a small 60 x 70 foot lot.

Seven years later, as his family expanded, he built a garden house on the back of the lot. This compact wing had walls that slid open onto a pocket garden to be shared by the addition and main house. In 1963 after a disastrous fire, that left unscathed only the 1940 Garden house and basement of the original wing, Richard and his son and partner Dion Neutra had a chance to redesign the main house. Two floors and a penthouse solarium were built on the original prefabricated basement structure. They applied what the practice had learned in the interim about sun louvers, water roofs, "nature-near", and physiologically motivated design.

It is a place, which could tell many stories. Over a thirty-year period hundreds of projects on four continents were designed there. These included the country's first modern school, many distinguished residences, and important public buildings. At mid century Neutra's influence was pervasive. In 1949 a Time Magazine cover story characterized him as "second only to lordly Frank Lloyd Wright". VDL saw the beginning of the careers of architects who came as apprentices to work there from all over the world including, among others Gregory Ain, Raphael Soriano and Donald Wexler. Photographer Julius Schulman's career started with this office. VDL played host to cultural figures like Frank Lloyd Wright, Lazlo Moholy Nagy, Jorn Utson, Charles and Ray Eames; religious figures like Robert Schuler and J Krishnamurti; scientists like Rene Dubos and Linus Pauling; and to political figures and activists like John Anson Ford, Frank Wilkinson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

In 1990 Richard Neutra's wife Dione, left the VDL Research Compound to the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design.

On the veranda

Become a Friend of VDL

To become a Friend of the Neutra VDL House please visit our secure online donation site (click on this link).


Interim Director

Cal Poly Pomona architecture faculty Bob Alexander has been appointed interim director of the Neutra VDL Research House. The current director Sarah Lorenzen will be on sabbatical in the Netherlands during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Open house to benefit VDL Studio and Residences and the World Monuments Fund

Saturday June 18th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Roof Repairs Underway

Work has begun on a historically sensitive restoration of two roofs at the Neutra VDL House.

Tom Hines Lecture

Professor Hines will be presenting his new book: "Architecture Of The Sun: Los Angeles Modernism, 1900-1970" on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 7:30pm.

Santiago Borja Installation

Mexican artist Santiago Borja’s site specific installation “Fort Da” will open on November 17 2010 at the Neutra VDL House.

Resident Director

Assistant Professor Sarah Lorenzen, AIA is the resident director of the VDL Research House. Sarah is responsible for caring for and promoting the house, giving tours of the property, hosting visitors, organizing receptions, and working to generate revenues for its ongoing maintenance.

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