on Friday 19 November 2010

The architect Richard Josef Neutra is considered one of the modernism's most important architects. He was born in Vienna, Austria in 1892 and died in Wuppertal, Germany in 1970. The architecture of Vienna left a sense of richness and elegance that was to emerge in his mature work, but in entirely new forms. He was influenced by Otto Wagner and worked briefly for Frank Lloyd Wright before he strated to work for his close friend and university companion Rudolf Schindler in California, US. There, he became celebrated for rigorously geometric but airy structures that symbolized a West Coast variation on the mid-century modern residence. His designs combined light metal structures with stucco elements to create light, pervious ensembles, which he embedded with great sensitivity in carefully arranged gardens and landscapes. He was famous for the attention he gave to defining the real needs of his clients, regardless of the size of the project, in contrast to other architects eager to impose their artistic vision on a client. Neutra sometimes used detailed questionnaires to discover his client's needs, much to their surprise. His domestic architecture was a blend of art, landscape and practical comfort. 

The Richard Neutra in Europe exhibition held at the Marta Herford Museum in Germany from May till August 2010 provided insights into greater understanding of Neutra's cumulative vision in both completed and unrealized projects. Displayed photographs and architecture models show many buildings that had never before been documented. Photographer Iwan Baan documented all of Neutra's projects in Europe, focusing on how the projects are being used by people today. 

One of those projects is the Rang House built on the outskirts of Konigstein, Taunus, Germany in 1961. It is a small detached house largely preserved in its original state situated in a woodland clearing. What attracted my attention about this house was the splendid view through living room window into peaceful greenery of the garden with a few decades old trees. The view simply invites you to sit at the table on the patio and enjoy the nature. The interior of the house brings nature in through wall to wall windows bringing materials such as natural wood and stone and gentle colors such as warm white, brown and grey.

+ Photographs: Iwan Baan