It's been awhile since we checked in on Neutra's VDL Research House, his 1932 glass house with rooftop and balcony gardens overlooking the Reservoir. The call had gone out that the house was in dire need of repairs and funding. When we heard that resident director Sarah Lorenzen was planning on updating the Cultural Heritage Commission on Thursday with the latest on the restoration efforts, we asked for a preview. Lorenzen tells us via email: "In the last year there have been a number of positive developments at the Neutra VDL House. The College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona (who owns the house) has instituted a course to train architecture students to be docents at the house. This has allowed the college to institute regular tours on Saturdays. Tour fees now raise $20,000 per year to cover basic expenses. In addition landscape architecture students are working with faculty to restore ground floor and roof top gardens. Students have also done energy audits on the compound.
As far as fundraising we raised more than $40,000 in donations, and faculty at Cal Poly Pomona have submitted grant proposals to support additional public programming at the compound and to support restoration efforts.
Los Angeles architectural firm Marmol Radziner are working with college faculty, VDL Director Sarah Lorenzen, and Dion Neutra to develop historically sensitive working drawings to repair two of the leaking roofs. Work on these roofs is scheduled to begin as soon as the project is permitted. We have also costed out the repair of the roof top reflecting pool. We hope to raise $120,000 to complete the roof repairs by the summer of 2010.
The Friends of VDL (who are augmenting the college's own fundraising efforts) are particularly excited that the late Julius Shulman signed and numbered 35 double size digital prints of a photo he took of Richard Neutra sitting next to that roof top reflecting pool that we now seek to repair. Please visit the Neutra VDL website for additional information about tours, events, fundraising efforts and sales info on the Shulman photographs."
· VDL House Needs More Money [Curbed LA]