VDL Research House II
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. Today, VDL II is 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 Watch, California Polytechnic Pomona University was looking to secure funds to restore the building. Following Watch-listing, the University received a Getty Preserve LA grant to fund a historic structures report. An interior restoration program was begun parallel to the structural stabilization effort and so far carpets, interior doors, and second floor tiles have been conserved. The Neutra VDL Research House II recently received an award from the Los Angeles County Preservation Fund to fund structural renovation of roofs on the garden house and the penthouse and to install a drainage system to prevent further water infiltration problems.