Richard Neutra was born in Vienna, Austria, into a wealthy Jewish family. He attended the Sophiengymnasium in Vienna until 1910, then he studied under Adolf Loos and Otto Wagner at the Vienna University of Technology from 1910 to 1918. In 1912 he undertook a study trip to Italy and the Balkans with Ernst Ludwig Freud (son of Sigmund Freud). Neutra studied at the University of Zurich and worked briefly for landscape architect Gustav Ammann. In 1921 he worked as City Architect in the Planning Department of Luckenwalde, an industrial town in Germany. He also worked briefly for architect Erich Mendelsohn in Berlin. In 1922, Neutra married Dione Niedermann, the daughter of an architect, and they moved to the US in 1923. At the funeral of Louis Sullivan, Neutra met Frank Lloyd Wright, who hired him in 1924 to work at Taliesin in Wisconsin while Wright was in Japan. Work ran out in 1925 and Neutra left Taliesin to work in California with Rudolf Schindler. Among many projects, Schindler and Neutra collaborated on an entry for the 1927 League of Nations Competition; in the same year they formed a design firm with planner Carol Aronovici called the Architectural Group for Industry and Commerce (AGIC). Neutra and Schindler and their wives were very close; they shared space in Schindler’s house on Kings Road in Los Angeles from February 1925 until the Neutras left to tour Europe in May 1930. – Read more at USModernist.com
Starting in the early 1920’s Richard Neutra was one of the first generations of modernist architects who moved away from the architecture of adornment to one committed to the needs, of all kinds of people, the use of new technology to make good design affordable and responsive to climate as well as integrating nature and the landscape into the built environment. He was born and educated in Vienna and was deeply influenced by proto-modernist architect Otto Wagner who had, in 1896 written the book “Modern Architecture.”
Neutra studied with the early modernist Adolf Loos. Like his older school friend Rudolf Schindler, he admired the Prairie Houses of Frank Lloyd Wright and intended to emigrate to the USA in 1913 but was caught up in the Austrian army during WWI. After the war, he briefly worked with the landscape architect Gustav Amman in Switzerland and then as a town architect in the small town of Luckenwalde where he designed, in 1922, housing and a landscaped forest cemetery. He was hired by Eric Mendelsohn and as chief draftsman was responsible in 1923 for four experimental houses in the Zehlendorf suburb of Berlin. When Mendelsohn and he won an award for a library project in Palestine he used the money to emigrate to the United States in 1923.
He met Frank Lloyd Wright at the funeral of Louis Sullivan and was offered a job with Wright where he and his wife Dione and son Frank stayed for half a year in 1924/25 on projects which were not ultimately constructed.
He then was invited to join Rudolf Schindler in Los Angeles. In 1927, the two submitted a proposal for the League of Nations which was featured in an exhibition of the Deutsche Werkbund along with those of Le Corbusier and Hannes Meyer. In Hollywood, they also completed a forty unit reinforced concrete garden balcony “Jardinette” apartment house in 1928-29. Dr. Philip Lovell, who had built several structures with Schindler asked Neutra to design a city residence and site for Leah Lovell’s progressive school which became known as the Lovell Health House. The design began in 1927 and the structure was completed in 1929. – Read more at Neutra.org