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Richard Joseph Neutra Edit Profile

Architect , City planner

Richard Joseph Neutra was an Austrian-American architect. Living and building for the majority of his career in Southern California, he came to be considered among the most important modernist architects.


Neutra was born in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Vienna, Austria, on April 8, 1892 into a wealthy Jewish family.

His Jewish-Hungarian father Samuel Neutra (1844–1920) was a proprietor of a metal foundry, and his mother, Elizabeth "Betty" Glaser Neutra (1851–1905) was a member of the IKG Wien. Richard had two brothers who also emigrated to the United States, and a sister who married in Vienna.


Neutra attended the Sophiengymnasium in Vienna until 1910, and he studied under Adolf Loos at the Vienna University of Technology (1910–1918). He was a student of Max Fabiani and Karl Mayreder.

In June 1914, Neutra's studies were interrupted when he was ordered to Trebinje; he served as a lieutenant in the artillery in the balkans until the end of the war. He took a leave in 1917 to return to the Technische Hochschule to take his final examinations.

He graduated from the Polytechnical College of Vienna in 1917 and continued his studies at the University of Zürich. Zurich.


In 1921 he moved to Lukenwalde, Germany, to serve in the Municipal Building Office.

Part of his architectural apprenticeship was served in the office of Erich Mendelsohn, a modern German expressionist.

Neutra moved to the United States by 1923 and became a naturalized citizen in 1929. Neutra worked briefly for Frank Lloyd Wright before accepting an invitation from his close friend and university companion Rudolf Schindler to work and live communally in Schindler's Kings Road House in California.

The next year he became associated with Erich Mendelsohn in the design of the Business Center in Haifa, Palestine.

Neutra emigrated to the United States in 1923, joining the Chicago firm of Holabird and Roche.

At the same time he met Frank Lloyd Wright and began working at Wright's Wisconsin home, "Taliesin. "

The house is constructed of thin steel elements cantilevered over a ravine; the entire structure is supported from above by steel cables.

Neutra was responsible for the entire project, from the overall plan to thespecific details such as redwood trim.

Although the units were identical, he succeeded in individualizing them by varying the placement of each house in accordance with its particular terrain.

Neutra designed a number of private homes in southern California.

Among them was the Kaufmann (now Lisk) House in Palm Springs; here by brilliantly integrating the house with its desert site, Neutra reached a high point in his domestic style.

In 1935 his open-air schools for the Board of Education of Los Angeles, with patios off the classrooms, established a precedent in planning; his 1942 Channel Heights housing project in San Pedro, California, was for years unequaled.

A motel complex at Malibu Beach, Californnia (1955), which overlooks the Pacific, is characteristic of Neutra's ambition to express as vividly and simply as possible the relationship between a structure and its natural surroundings.

He subsequently developed his own practice and went on to design numerous buildings embodying the International Style, twelve of which are designated as Historic Cultural Monuments (HCM), including the Lovell Health House (HCM #123; 1929) and the Richard and Dion Neutra VDL Research House (HCM #640; 1966).

In California, he became celebrated for rigorously geometric but airy structures that symbolized a West Coast variation on the mid-century modern residence. Clients included Edgar J. Kaufmann, Galka Scheyer, and Walter Conrad Arensberg.

In the early 1930s, Neutra's Los Angeles practice trained several young architects who went on to independent success, including Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and Raphael Soriano.

In 1932, he tried to move to the Soviet Union, to help design workers' housing that could be easily constructed, as a means of helping with the housing shortage.

In 1955, the United States Department of State commissioned Neutra to design a new embassy in Karachi. Neutra's appointment was part of an ambitious program of architectural commissions to renowned architects, which included embassies by Walter Gropius in Athens, Edward Durrell Stone in New Delhi, Marcel Breuer in The Hague, Josep Lluis Sert in Baghdad, and Eero Saarinen in London.

Between 1960 and 1970, Neutra created eight villas in Europe, four in Switzerland, three in Germany, and one in France. Prominent clients in this period included Gerd Bucerius, publisher of Die Zeit, as well as figures from commerce and science.


  • The lifework of the Austrian-born American architect Richard Joseph Neutra was an attempt to combine the technical precision of the International Style with other elements more organic to American architectural traditions.


His work is concerned mainly with facilitating physical and mental well-being.


Neutra (1851–1905) was a member of the IKG Wien.


  • Artists

    He was greatly influenced by the buildings and writings of a contemporary Viennese architect, Adolf Loos, one of the pioneers of the modern movement in Europe.


He married Dione Niedermann, the daughter of an architect, in 1922. They had three sons, Frank L ( 1924-2008), Dion ( 1926-) an architect and his father's partner and Raymond Richard ( 1939-) a physician and environmental epidemiologist.

Samuel Neutra (1844–1920)

Elizabeth "Betty" Glaser Neutra (1851–1905)

Dione Niedermann

Robert E. Alexander

Raymond Richard Neutra

Frank L Neutra

Dion Neutra