Lemoore Naval Air Base Richard J. Neutra School

Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997.

Lemoore Naval Air Base Richard J. Neutra School


Neutra gave the dedication address for the Richard J. Neutra Elementary School at the heart of Lemoore Naval Air Station on 25 March 1962. It was 37 years after he had first conceived of the idea of a ring as a theoretical plan for a school back in 1925, a model of which was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art for its 1932 exhibition on modern architecture. (Collaborators on the Ring School included Gregory Ain, Harry Dovell, Raphael Soriano and Alfred Weidler.) In the built project two arcs of nine classrooms branch out from a core of administration offices and kitchen to enclose a multi-purpose room. Storage space and two kindergarten rooms, near a 100-car lot, project in the opposite direction from the core. Each of the classrooms opens onto the playground by means of a sliding glass door, one-half the length of the classroom. Neutra was able to exploit new glass technology in new non-glare glass that allowed schoolchildren to see out but was visually impenetrable form the outside, lessening potential disruption, Neutra believed, from would-be pranksters passing outside. One of the most important facets of the building was the huge, high multi-purpose room with multiple folding doors and movable indoor-outdoor platforms.

In one of the photographs of the school, Neutra is seen entering one of the finished classrooms next to six brand-new plastic chairs. The chairs are lined up and placed to defy the boundary between indoors and out, just as photographs of the Corona school had shown with old-fashioned wood chairs. The perimeter of the ring was a broad hallway, with glass doors separating classrooms. Here colored concrete was used for fo traffic along the ring or for access to the outdoor play areas, while asphalt tile was used for the classrooms proper. In built contrast to the theoretical Ring School, however, Neutra broke up each formerly curved unit in the Ring into wedge-shaped pieces with straight lines, achieving the same effect but at lower cost. It also permitted him to introduce another long wedge for foot traffic and storage space that leads fro the perimeter of the ring to the center between each classroom, ensuring greater quiet for teaching.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Neutra & Alexander


Orange Coast College


2701 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, California

Current Status