A National Historic Landmark cultivating education, architecture, and art.
The Neutra VDL Studio and Residences is a National Historic Landmark is Los Angeles, committed to cultivating education surrounding architecture, art, and community culture. Our work with the VDL House was an endeavor that merged elements of strategy, direction, design, and photography, with Neutra’s personal archive and body of work that spanned decades and disciplines. When faced with the rebrand of this historic and culturally significant home, it caught us by surprise how careful we needed to navigate that responsibility. Just like owning an old home, there’s a fine line between preservation and renovation. Before we were able to dive into the process of direction or design, we had to understand what needed to be maintained versus what needed to be updated. With a rich visual history surrounding Neutra and the larger mid-century modern movement, it can often feel as if we’re walking a tightrope. It’s easy to get lost in the references and history without thinking about the implications of that work in the present-day. Is it serving our needs? Is it pushing the needle forward, or moving in a circle? The main focus of this project was to really open up this experience of architecture to more people. That felt like the most important driver for every decision we made. And something that was left out when we think about the legacy of these architects and their work. Maintaining the visual integrity of Neutra and his work, but bringing it forward and presenting it in a more inclusive way. Opening up pieces of his personal library for anyone to see, or hosting exhibitions and residencies that continue to challenge and further the legacy of Neutra. For the majority of us, architecture is just a means to an end: a house to live in, a restaurant to go to, an event space to attend. To be able to have an opportunity to shift that dynamic by opening up the history of a home to anyone with access to an internet connection was a no-brainer for us. We hope this work makes it easier than ever to learn about Neutra, visit the VDL, and be inspired by the endless possibility of designing the space around us.