May 23, 2012

Photo Essay: Neutra's VDL II Studio & Residences

I got the chance to visit Richard and Dion Neutra's VDL II case study house (the reincarnation of the burned-down original VDL in the same footprint) about this time last year, but I didn't post any of the photos. I didn't think they were very good.

But on Sunday during Day Two of The Big Parade, stopping by the VDL II and Neutra Place and actually meeting Dion Neutra, I realized I had to share my glimpses around the building's interior and roof. So many visitors to the Silver Lake Reservoir pass by this lovely structure all the time and have no idea of its significance or beauty. Even on The Big Parade, we didn't get to go inside the VDL II (or anywhere else).

The facade probably looks familiar...

...but from the street you can't see the unique exterior features, like where the reflecting pools should be...

...or the outdoor patio...

...or the floating stairs to the sky.

As with many Neutra designs, there is plenty of glass to let in lots of natural light...

...and some unique interior features, like a tiny elevator...

...and an intercom system.

The VDL II has seen better days: the reflecting pools run dry, their gravel beds soaking in the sun, while several areas of the working studio and residences down below could really use a bit of a facelift.

And it's one of several Neutra structures that characterize the (somewhat hidden) modern architecture of Silver Lake, an area of LA which has inspired many modernists (Schindler, Lautner, in addition to Neutra) for the last 50 years.

Related Reading:
Photo Essay: California Dream Homes

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