Urgent Campaign for Neutra VDL Studio and Residences
Saturday, May 31st, 2008...10:47 am
One of Neutra’s most famous and important works is his own family’s former home, the VDL Research House. (It was called VDL after the Dutch philanthropist Dr C. H. Van Der Leeuw, who provided Neutra with the loan for the project.) Modern in design, VDL came to be known as a “glass” house” because of its many floor-to-ceiling windows. It was built to accommodate three families on a small 60×70 foot lot that included patios and gardens, as well as energy-saving innovations such as large overhangs and a rooftop reflecting pool that helped to keep the structure cool. Neutra proved that modern urban design could be at once beautiful, affordable, and environmentally-friendly.
VDL also housed Neutra’s office, where he designed hundreds of other projects over a thirty-year period. In addition to Shulman, many others began their professional careers with Neutra, including the architects Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, Donald Wexler, and Raphael Soriano.
In 1990, Neutra’s wife Dione gave a $100,000 endowment and the VDL Research House to the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design. Through the College, public and educational tours of the site have been made possible. However, VDL faces an immediate threat. Insurance and maintenance for the complex have proven costly, and VDL is long overdue for repairs, including a leaking roof that has caused water damage, and the uneven settlement of the house’s foundation. If the College is unable to raise $30,000 by October 1, 2008, the building could be closed and possibly sold to a private party, thereby resulting in the permanent loss of educational and public access. In addition to the $30,000, the College also hopes to raise another $2 million to cover current and future repairs and expenses.
For more information, and to learn how you can help, visit http://www.neutra-vdl.org/