Emerson Junior High School

Emerson Junior High School

According to Richard Neutra’s biographer, Thomas Hines, after its construction, the architect’s design for Emerson Junior High School was recognized as a leading example of 1930s modernism alongside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water and Walter Gropius’s house in Lincoln, Massachusetts. The two-story, steel-framed school has strong and severe lines which conjure precedents such as the Bauhaus. In both buildings, elegant fenestration becomes a geometric element. Neutra’s attention extended to all aspects of the design, even small features such as the vent pipers on which he used his signature aluminum paint. Emerson Junior High School was among Neutra’s earliest school projects, and his commission was a result of advocacy by women educators, including school principal Nora Sterry and Board of Education member Margaret Clark, who were both taken with Neutra’s investment in progressive models for education. Like Neutra’s later school designs, Emerson Junior High School provided students with ready access to the outdoors through large, 15-foot-high glass and steel sliding doors and rooftop terraces.

Adapted from Neutra – Complete Works by Barbara Lamprecht (Taschen, 2000), p. 140.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Richard Neutra




1650 Selby Ave
Westwood, CA

Current Status