NEUTRA, RICHARD JOSEPH
NEUTRA, RICHARD JOSEPH (1892–1970), U.S. architect. Born in Vienna, after World War I Neutra worked in Switzerland as a nurseryman and landscape gardener, an experience which helped to develop his remarkable talent for his buildings fitting into the landscape. In 1922 he joined Erich *Mendelsohn in Berlin, and the following year they were awarded first prize for their joint design for a business center for Haifa, Palestine. Neutra emigrated to the U.S. in 1923 and studied under Frank Lloyd Wright at his architectural center at Taliesin, Wisconsin. In 1926 he settled in Los Angeles, where he entered the office of the Vienna-born architect, Rudolph Schindler. The buildings they designed and erected were among the first creations of the international style in America. Neutra was at this period concerned with town planning and architectural technology. This aspect of his work is seen in his "Rush City Reformed" (1923–30), a plan for an ideal city, in his designs for prefabricated housing units, and in his Channel Heights Housing Project, San Pedro, California (1942–44). It was for his private homes, however, that Neutra was best known. "Lovell House" (1927–29), a rambling construction in the then-modern style, established his reputation. The houses he built after World War II are often regarded as his greatest achievement. They are usually luxurious residences in which glass is extensively used to give a feeling of space; the effect of the glass is often enhanced by the use of reflecting pools of water. Neutra wrote several books, including Survival Through Design (1954).
E. Mc-Coy, Richard Neutra (Eng., 1960), includes bibliography; W. Boesiger (ed.), Richard Neutra, Buildings and Projects (1951, 1959, 1966); A. Forsee, Men of Modern Architecture (1966), 131–60.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.