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Richard Neutra: The Story of the Berlin Houses 1920–1924
Text by Harriet Roth.
“Richard Neutra in Berlin traces his success back to the Zehlendorf housing project of 1923 where he defined his strong and experimental modernist style.” –Wallpaper
Mention of the name Richard Neutra conjures the light-flooded bungalows that characterize the architectural style of the West Coast around Los Angeles. Because he is so closely associated with Los Angeles, it is sometimes overlooked that Neutra’s career actually began in the Berlin-Zehlendorf neighborhood in the early 1920s. And yet these houses in Zehlendorf represent a fascinating phase in Neutra’s work. With their complex color schemes and extravagant interior design, they reveal themselves to be more than just experimental and radically innovative designs. Indeed, these lesser-known buildings already hint at elements that Neutra would take up again in his future projects.
Richard Neutra in Berlin allows for a long-overdue, rightful reassessment of Neutra’s early works. Alongside historical sources, it collects countless new and unpublished documents about the houses and their first residents.
Austrian-born architect Richard Neutra (1892–1970) finished his architectural studies in the midst of the First World War, and worked in Switzerland and Germany for a few years before moving to the United States in 1923. Settling in California after working briefly for Frank Lloyd Wright, Neutra became identified with a West Coast variant on mid-century modern architecture: rigorously geometric buildings designed in the International Style of Neutra’s European training, with an open, airy, flexible atmosphere suitable to Neutra’s new California home.
Featured image is reproduced from 'Richard Neutra: The Story of the Berlin Houses 1920–1924.'
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/8/2019
Best known for his sleek yet flexible multifunction-plan Los Angeles bungalows of the 1930s through the 1960s, the renowned Austrian Modernist Richard Neutra actually began his career in Switzerland and Germany between the World Wars. Jewish and a close friend of Sigmund Freud's entire family before he emigrated to the United States in 1923, Neutra designed a small development in the Zehlendorf suburb of Berlin that is the subject of this fascinating new book from Hatje Cantz. Featuring radical, bright colors and experimental features like a revolving stage in two of the homes, this work pointed very clearly to Neutra's near-future breakthroughs in California. Featured photograph, snapped in 1924, captures the revolving stage at either Onkel-Tom-Strasse 85 or 87, which was designed to transform the living room into a library, a dining room or a music room at the push of a wall. continue to blog