Richard Neutra was born in Vienna of wealthy parents, studied at the Vienna University of Technology for eight years and after graduation went on an Italian study tour with his friend Ernst Freud, son of Sigmund Freud. From there, he went to Switzerland to study landscape architecture and married Dione Niedermann, the daughter of a well-known architect. In 1923, they immigrated to the U.S. where he worked for a time for Frank Lloyd Wright, finally settling in the practice of Rudolf Schindler in Los Angeles. His first design projects were in landscape design, but in time he went on to open his own practice where he combined modern-style architecture and his talent for landscapes. He is one of the most significant architects of the mid-century modernists. Twelve of the buildings he designed have achieved recognition as Historic Cultural Monuments. When Neutra turned to design private residences, he was known for creating affordable, functional designs with clean, simple lines and walls of glass.
When Art and Architecture chose Neutra for their Case Study Project of private residential designs, Neutra built a 2,000-square-foot home in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles on a wooded bluff above Santa Monica Beach. The home was sold to Dr Stuart Bailey, the first of the Case Study Project homes to be sold to an outside client.
It was fortuitous that many years later another man of imagination would buy the Neutra property who would have the finances and vision to restore the house. That was Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons and other mega-hit television productions Taxi and Cheers.
Simon already owned the next-door home when he purchased the Neutra home and immediately engaged master architects and restoration artist Marmol Radziner to preserve and renovate the house, which achieved its Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument status. When Simon’s original home was damaged by fire in 2007, he moved into the Neutra home while a new 7,124-square-foot, four-bedroom, LEED Certified Gold, eco-friendly home was built to replace the fire-damaged home. Positioned to overlook the Bailey Case Study house and the grounds, the large living room was built for entertaining with a theater/bar/gameroom that connects to a stone deck with infinity-edge pool.
Sam Simon’s Pacific Palisades estate, which also contains the Richard Neutra Case Study House #20, is for sale at $18 million.
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