“SURVIVAL THROUGH DESIGN, to ameliorate by the fast-advancing insights of all sciences, the human setting in which to live, to work, to rest” — Richard J. Neutra (1892-1970)
The Vision of the Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design
- Preserving and Using the Institute’s Three Neutra Designed, nature-centered Buildings as a stimulus for the future.
- Preserving and Beneficially Using the Neutra Archives and accessible website for scholarly and commercial purposes.
- Fostering, through partnerships, responsible and evidence inspired design for a world challenged by climate change.
Five Year Goals
- Restore and program the Institute’s Reunion House, Treetops and Museum/Office by 2025.
- Complete catalogs and finding aids for the Neutra Archives at UCLA and CalPoly Pomona as well as policies that facilitate low cost scholarly research and appropriate commercial use by 2025.
- Create and maintain an accessible and informative website linked to Neutra information around the world by 2025.
- By 2025 start to partner and support projects and persons to foster responsible and evidence inspired design for a world challenged by climate change.
Preservation to Illustrate Values
To an unusual degree for its time, Neutra’s writings focused on identifying and researching perennial esthetic human needs that required accommodation by the built environment. These writings supplemented his enthusiasm for eliciting and accommodating his clients more obvious needs in his built designs.
His built work aimed at using nature and available technology to satisfy those needs. While the solutions were coherent and elegant for their time, they will not be the solutions for a moon colony or a changing climate and society. However, perennial human needs will still demand accommodation, albeit with new solutions. Beyond a mere celebration of historic achievements, we propose to preserve the Neutras’ writings and designs, built and unbuilt, as a continuing reminder of the need for socially and ecologically responsible design inspired by evidence.
The Relation between Legacy Preservation and Fostering Responsible Design
When the Neutra Institute for Survival Through Design was established in the early 1960’s, Richard Neutra thought that his reputation for responsible design would attract funds to foster more responsible design and research into the perennial human needs that demanded accommodation. The Institute now has modest resources to deploy the preserved Neutra legacy to help foster innovative socially and ecologically responsible design inspired by evidence. We propose to do this in partnership with the research community and by promoting best practices in the wider design field with a particular emphasis on our rapidly changing climate and society.