After Wright: Pathfinders of Regionalism & Sustainability
Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, Antonin & Noémi (Pernessin) Raymond
One day symposium on the work of the European/American architects, Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, Antonin & Noémi (Pernessin) Raymond, who came to the United States to work for Frank Lloyd Wright, and then pioneered the development of Modern Architecture in their own unique directions. This symposium will focus on the work of these architects, their relationship with Wright, and the contributions and implications of their work today.
The Symposium is in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects - Custom Residential Architects Network, AIA New York Cultural Facilities Committee, and coordinated with the Museum of Modern Art, special exhibit -- Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive.
This symposium will have four presentations: the first on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright during this pivotal point in his career (1910-1923); to be followed by the work of Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, and Antonin and Noémi Raymond-- all in context to this period in which these architects had worked under Wright. In their lectures, the presenters will identify and describe what these aspects in design are, compare them with Wright’s work and with the International Style Modernists that were their peers. Following their presentations there will be a panel discussion investigating the connections, and differences, of these seminal architects, their impact of the direction of architecture in the balance of the 20th Century, and what are the implications of their work today in terms of sustainability, regionalism and an emerging globalism in architecture today.
The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A led by the Director of the Raymond Farm Center, John DeFazio.
AIA CES: 5.0 LU | 5.0 HSW
$250 for AIA Members/$100 for AIAS Students
$300 for Non Members and General Public
The Symposium will be followed by a Farm to Table dinner, with the speakers and their guests, hosted by the Raymond Family, in the Raymond Studio. Spaces are limited. $150/ person.
Presentations & Speakers
Tokyo and the Farm : Wright's new departurs in the 1910's and 1920's
Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence was at its most emphatic and pronounced during the first decade of the 20th century, the period summarized in his influential publication of work known at the Wasmuth Portfolio, and again from the 1930s after the establishment of the Taliesin Fellowship which set up a steady stream of disciples. Yet some of the most consequential practices to have been honed by contact with Wright came during the 1910s and early 1920s, the period that Anthony Alofsin characterized as “the lost years.” In some ways Wright’s influence bi-furcated during this period, with some architects responding to the compendium captured in the Portfolio—the Dutch and German followers of Wright – and some attuned to new diverse experiments in a decade which saw new relationships to landscape, to nature as a productive rather than simply contemplative force, to the quest for new building methods, and increasingly to architectural solutions that responded to new environments from Japan to California. This is the experimental period in which Antonin Raymond, Rudolph Schindler, and Richard Neutra were working with Wright. In this talk I will look at some of the experimental practices of the 1910s and 1920s in Wright’s work that set the stage for taking stakes in the debates over regionalism and sustainability that became dominant in the Depression decade following 1929. Some of these experiments are highlighted in the current show, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, including proposals to think of nature as landscape infrastructure, to explore new ways of growing and distributing agricultural goods, regional inflection in architecture and new types of use of both natural and artificial stone, and new engagements with a type of nativism that foreshadowed the regionalism of the 1930s.
Barry Bergdoll is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Architectural History at Columbia University and Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, where from 2007-2013 he served as The Philip Johnson Chief Curator. At MoMA Bergdoll has organized numerous exhibitions since co-curating with Terence Riley Mies in Berlin (2001), notably Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling (2008), with Leah Dickerman Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity (2009), Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 (2015), and most recently Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, with Jennifer Gray and currently on view at MoMA until 1 October. He is also the author of numerous books and article on architecture since 1750, including European Architecture, 1750-1890 in the Oxford History of Art series (2000) and a forthcoming book on Marcel Breuer (Lars Mueller Publishers, 2017).
Judith Sheine is a Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Oregon. She has published a number of books on the architect R.M. Schindler; she co-edited, with Lionel March, R.M. Schindler: Composition and Construction (Academy Editions, 1993) and authored “R.M. Schindler: Works and Projects” (Editorial Gustavo Gili, 1998) and R.M. Schindler (Phaidon Press, 2001). Her most recent book, Schindler, Kings Road and Southern California Modernism (University of California Press, 2012) was co-authored with Robert Sweeney. She is also a practicing architect and has won several prizes in design competitions and a Record House award from Architectural Record (1995) for the Sarli house. More recently, the Ramirez house (2004-12) in Sea Ranch California, designed with architect Norman Millar, has been published in several venues, including the July/August 2014 issue of Dwell. Since 2008 she has been working on architecture/engineering collaborative design projects focused on advanced wood products and is the lead for the University of Oregon in their collaboration with Oregon State University’s Colleges of Forestry and Engineering in the TallWood Design Institute.
Schindler and Wright: The Second and First Space Architects
R.M. Schindler worked with Frank Lloyd Wright from 1917-23, first in Oak Park and Taliesin, and, from December 1920, in Los Angeles. Schindler clearly admired Wright’s work; he wrote, in a letter to Richard Neutra, “his art is an art of space...” But in his own house and studio at Kings Road in Southern California in 1921-22, Schindler took Wright’s ideas about connecting buildings to their sites, integrating interior and exterior space, and experimenting with construction technologies much further than the master had done to date. And Wright appears to have been inspired by Schindler’s work in his designs for the Usonian houses in the 1930s, for example. Both architects repudiated the so-called International Style and designed buildings that were particular to their sites and contexts. Schindler called his work “Space Architecture” and his ideas had wide influence in Southern California, where building expediently and experimentally attracted critical attention starting in the late 1960s with works by Ray Kappe, Frank Gehry and Charles Moore, followed by the next generation that included Morphosis and Frank Israel. Schindler’s designs, incorporating an extensive use of natural light, cross- ventilation and overhangs for shading, which reduced the need for heating, cooling and artificial illumination, along with his efficient use of materials in his construction techniques, continue to inspire architects today, as models for sustainable design.
How to Stretch Space: Richard Neutra’s Strategies for Trickery
One year after Neutra’s birth, on a November evening in 1893, the German art historian August Schmarsow scolded the architectural profession in a lecture given at the University of Leipzig. In the face of modernity, Schmarsow asked, why do you wring your hands about what historicist styles to use? Do you not remember that architecture’s raison d’etre is the body’s movement through space, that she is the creatress of space? While there is no evidence suggesting that Richard Neutra (1892 – 1970) had any connection to Schmarsow, it is clear that Neutra may be the first architect to have understood architecture’s primary purpose in the same way that Schmarsow daringly advanced.
All throughout his long life, Neutra sought out wave after wave of new thinking and being. While stylistically Modern, he based his architecture on fundamentally different premises than those of his iconic peers. Born into that cauldron of Modernism, fin de siècle Vienna, as a young man Neutra studied engineering and architecture at the Vienna Technische University and then with his fellow architect Rudolf Schindler studied with the great Adolf Loos. Neutra was introduced to Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1910 Wasmuth Portfolio, celebrating Wright’s diagonal views through glass corners and extensions of buildings into the landscape. At the same time, Neutra also discovered a massive tome titled “Principles of Psychological Psychology,” first published in 1874 and written by German philosopher and psychologist Wilhelm Wundt. This new field of research investigated an organism’s senses and perception in response to stimuli from the exterior environment. Grasping that knowing something about this interaction could be a goldmine to an architect, Wundt’s work catalyzed Neutra’s lifelong immersion in the life sciences, especially evolutionary biology, Gestalt aesthetics, and cognitive science. It led him to reject Cartesian dualism and the separation of mind and body. He rejected an oppositional “man vs. nature,” instead regarding them as part of a single spectrum that included animals. Finally, it led him to recognize humans as both plastic and fixed, unique and generic, individual and universal, a bivalence embodied in his famous “client interrogations” that blended the elements of architectural programming, a medical intake, and a psychologist’s analysis.
Neutra’s unique approach also owes much to his first employer, the Swiss garden designer and landscape architect Gustav Ammann. Ammann was a leader in the avant garde of Modern landscape theory, in which ideas flowed among America, England, and the German-speaking world. Thus, Neutra was as likely to be holding seedlings and a trowel as often as he was a pencil, simultaneously gaining yet another world intent on bringing humans and nature together. In fact, Neutra’s first independent project was not a building but a forest cemetery. His first jobs in Los Angeles was to assist Schindler with landscape designs for Wright’s Barnsdall House and the Lovell Beach and How houses. A 1930 trip to Japan only intensified his intent to meld landscape and building into one kinetic, serene setting.
My lecture explores how these apparently disparate new disciplines inform Neutra’s work, and illuminates what I call his “strategies for trickery,” strategies especially on behalf a richer experience of being fully human; of the body in space; of making small spaces feel gracious and more expansive; of always asking, how many square feet does it take to lead the good life, anyway?
Raised in Canada and New York City, Pasadena, CA-based Barbara Lamprecht is the author of Neutra: Complete Works (Taschen, 2000), Neutra (Taschen 2004) and Richard Neutra: Furniture: The Body and the Senses (Wasmuth, 2015). Lamprecht earned an M.Arch., at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and her Ph.D. at the University of Liverpool. Her dissertation explored Richard Neutra’s late nineteenth and early twentieth century roots in science and landscape, especially concentrating on his work linking the body, the senses, and the experience of architecture. Lamprecht contributed a book chapter for William Krisel’s Palm Springs: The Language of Modernism, 2015, and another for the 2017 Clocks and Clouds on the historical work of contemporary Los Angeles-Zurich architecture firm Escher Gunewardena. She has taught all periods of architectural history at several institutions and lectures widely, including the National Building Museum; Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; Modernism Week, Palm Springs; the Getty Conservation Institute; the Vienna Technical University, Neutra’s alma mater, and the Driehaus Foundation, both in November. A “qualified architectural historian” and former journalist, she prepares historic designations of the work by many other noted Modernists, such as Buff, Straub, and Hensman and Walter S. White. As a project manager and building designer, she has led rehabilitations of two Neutra houses, working closely with top-tier trade professionals. Currently she is leading the historical consultant team on the rehabilitation of the Jardinette Apartments, Hollywood, a four-story reinforced concrete International Style building designed by Neutra with Rudolf Schindler, 1928.
In this Room: The Raymonds and the Place of Personality
After two periods with Wright – at Taliesin and in Tokyo, Antonin and Noemi Raymond found their work and ideas transformed by the direct experience of living in Japan. Traditional Japanese architecture and craft traditions, along with spiritual and cultural engagement, had an agitating effect on their European roots and American training. Modernism, in their eyes, became more responsive to and resonant with place and tradition. Following almost two decades abroad, the Raymonds returned to the United States and chose the rural setting of New Hope, Pennsylvania as a base from which to reconnect with the American scene. What came of these artistic interconnections?
William Whitaker is the Curator of The Architectural Archives at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the Editor and contributor to the book, Crafting a Modern World, the Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond, and coauthor with George H. Marcus on The Houses of Louis I. Kahn.