2000 World Monuments Watch
A fusion of 1930s International Style and 1960s California Modernism, the Neutra VDL Research House II was designed to demonstrate the possibilities of contemporary building materials and the idea of connecting interior space with the exterior environment. The building was first constructed in 1932, designed by the famed architect Richard Neutra, and was partially financed by Dutch industrialist C.H. Van der Leeuw (VDL).
Partially destroyed in a fire in 1963, the house was rebuilt by the architect and his son, Dion, as a reworking of the original design and the modern architectural principles it represented. Following the reconstruction, the “II” was added to its name. In 1990, the property was taken over by California Polytechnic Pomona University pursuant to a 1979 agreement to make the building accessible to the public and to maintain it in perpetuity. The house has since been utilized by the university as a classroom for courses and seminars, and is open as a visitor’s center for Neutra enthusiasts. In 2000, when the house was placed on the World Monuments Watch, California Polytechnic Pomona University was working to secure funds to restore the building.
Since the Watch
Soon after the Watch announcement, the university received a Preserve L.A. grant from the Getty Foundation to fund a historic structures report at the house. An interior restoration program was begun parallel to the structural stabilization effort and carpets, interior doors, and tiles were conserved. The Neutra VDL Research House II also received an award from the Los Angeles County Preservation Fund for structural renovation of roofs on the garden house and the penthouse and for the installation of a drainage system to prevent further water infiltration problems.
In January 2017 the U.S. Department of the Interior declared the house a National Historic Landmark, stating that the building is “the only property where one can see the progression of Neutra’s style over a period of years and is among the key properties to understanding the national significance of Richard Neutra.”