The Neutra Philosophy
Goals and Means
In 1969, the last year of his life, Richard Neutra prepared a brief recorded statement to accompany a slide presentation as part of an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution on the body of work done by him and his architect son Dion. It summarizes their emphasis on well-researched design that serves humanity and the planet. Listen to it below.
One hears that their goal was to accommodate what clients do and how clients socialize while serving their health and wellbeing as well as delighting them. There was an emphasis on a simplicity that could make such environments affordable and responsive to climate.
The means for achieving these goals included modern technology and the sensitive inclusion of nature and landscape, or when nature was not available to recreate its essential features.
Richard Neutra wrote an introduction to a cycle of essays towards the end of his life published posthumously nearly 20 years later in the book Nature Near. Below, hear Theater Professor Karen Ludwig of Parson’s School of Design, NYC, reading from Richard Neutra’s 1969 Manifesto: Cross Section of a Credo (17 minutes, recorded April 1, 2011, at Parson’s Immaterial Environments Symposium).
To hear Neutra’s own account on how his childhood experiences in turn-of-the-century imperial Vienna impelled him to this kind of architecture, you can listen to this brief section of his autobiography read by Viennese actor Marcus Kupferblum: