Richard J. Neutra (1892 - 1970)
Richard Neutra's biography can be found HERE.
San Diego Projects
Despite the original reflecting pond having been removed, much of this all-faith chapel has been retained (including the original bell from a Navy cruiser). The east-facing facade is the most interesting detail: A translucent opening formed by the valley of the V-shaped hung ceiling of the nave, expressed on the exterior. Supported from one side of the ridge is a unique hanging stairway enclosed in glass that acts as the gallery entrance. Light is cast down on the altar rather than worshippers by unique prefabicrated concrete forms and continuous skylights extending the entire width of the nave. More widely known for his Lovell house (LA) and Kaufmann House (Palm Springs) than the funky stylings of this military chapel, Neutra brought together the International style and LA-born post-war modernism into a resume of spider-leg outriggings and interior/exterior spaces that flowed together organically.
Dr. Robert E. (1960)
Broad floor-to-ceiling glass front offers a splendid valley view to the north, while connecting the interior to the exterior living spaces (via a patio). Originally a 3-bed, 2-bath plan oriented around the living/family room, this house has been remodeled without the consultation of Neutra yet maintains the same aesthetic of original design. One of four of Richard Neutra’s delightful flat-roofed, floor-to-ceiling glass walled houses in San Diego, one of which (Oxley House) has been the focal point of a heated public debate whether or not his designs deserve historical landmark status (as all are younger than the 45 year-old rule).
The Vienna-born, Los Angeles-based architect is the poster-boy for modernist architecture these days, what with his much sought-after residential designs fetching well over $400,000 (those without views!) from designers and movie stars alike. Despite remodeling efforts (as well as demolition plans), the original 1,800 sq. ft. structure is still intact. Hopefully, restoration plans by current resident (Thomas Massarat) will include the original roof overhangs and “spider-leg webbing” wooden trellises that leaped from the stuccoed wood-frame structure into the surrounding “entertaining” spaces. Oxley, a physicist at UCSD, and his wife Sue originally commissioned the modest house for an architect who’s aesthetic they admired. In turn, Neutra found this house design “especially interesting” and worked long hours on its plans.
I.B. Residence (1952)