Buena Park Swim Stadium and Recreation Center

Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997.

Buena Park Swim Stadium and Recreation Center


In Neutra’s own caption for the “Olympic Swim Stadium” published in the third volume of the famous Boesiger series on Neutra’s work through 1966, he writes that public open-air baths have “often been psychologically distorted and concealed behind a monumental front,” certainly the latter part of the phrase applies to many fine edifices for public baths in Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. Instead his stated intention is to steer the visitor “humbly and modestly” through landscaping, which in turn is intended to temper the pace of procession, to calm the heart, and to be much more “assuming and informal than the often pretentious Roman Thermae.” One wonders what the problem is, or why anyone needs to be humble or modest; certainly bathers in Vienna are the most self-assured in the Western world. But beyond the text lies the building, which is almost bare-boned Miesian in the clear, spare strokes of floating roof above the long rusticated brick wall running out into the grounds, or even reminiscent of a pared-down facade of the Fagus Factory. Planes and lines seem independent but are so carefully placed in relationship to one another that they achieve a satisfying tension.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Richard Neutra with Ramberg & Lowrey ass. architects


7225 El Dorado Drive
Buena Park, CA