richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life

spatial practice renovates & extends Neutra’s Lord House in LA

 

Architectural office spatial practice has rejuvenated a timeless classic in Los Angeles, originally designed by Architect Richard Neutra in 1961. The mid-century dwelling named ‘The Lord House’ or a ‘lost’ Neutra, as the architects referred to it, has gradually seen its decay over the years but nevertheless still bore signature features of the architect’s design language. The property was initially owned by TV writer and composer Stephen Lord, who commissioned the modernist architect to design a home with sweeping panoramas toward the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley.

 

Perched at the top of a ridge occupying a 26,500 sq ft (2,460 sqm) plot, the Lord House emerges as a secluded gem among the lush scenery. In 2021, when the architectural duo of spatial practice found the single-floor home in a dilapidated state, they directly decided to give it a second life. In close communication with the previous owner, the design couple uncovered the original collection of blueprints and photographs of the house, including Neutra’s hand-sketched perspectives, elevations, and plans. Thus, began a creative and ambitious journey of transforming the derelict structure into a modern classic that would be their own house. The new scheme aimed to sensitively return the structure to its former prestige, all the while meeting today’s living lifestyle.

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life
all images by Michael Weber

 

 

breathing new life into the mid-century House

 

Dora Chi and Erik Amir of spatial practice (see more here) underwent extensive renovations to respectfully revitalize Neutra’s design, modernize the kitchen and bathrooms, and add an extra structure that serves as a guest house. ‘We were captured by the simplicity and purposeful design toward nature by Neutra that made the quality of space so unique,’ explains Dora Chi.‘Naturally, we were also excited to dive into the world of one of the most influential mid century architects, Richard Neutra.’

 

A large patio pierces the Lord House, with the presence of a Japanese Black Pine Bonsai tree marking the entrance to the residence. Entering the house, visitors encounter the living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors effortlessly blurring the line between inside and outside. The generous glazing lets abundant natural light and beautiful views flood the interior. Utilizing the existing openings, the new white oak open kitchen frame views of the entry patio and the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

 

The added elements gave the bathrooms a minimal and timeless touch with pure and geometric shapes expressed with warm floating travertine vanities’. Neutra’s heavy yet floating fireplace is positioned at the heart of the living room, acting as a centerpiece. Each sleeping area is oriented to enjoy a view of the valley and mountains. Meanwhile, doors are restored to their original proportions, and walls appear floating over wide white oak hardwood planks. The original black and white terrazzo in the entry was restored to contrast the added warm hardwood floor.

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life
aerial view from the north

 

 

The living spaces naturally prompt the user’s gaze to the garden with its sinuous pool. The loose curves of the landscape and pool come in juxtaposition with the orthogonal layout of the house, thus creating various green nooks. Rocks and stones have been placed strategically throughout the gardens to exude a sense of tranquility.

 

‘We became a ‘noise eliminator’ through the process of design and construction by making sure we recapture the design intentions but at the same time allowing new and contemporary interventions,’ says Erik Amir, ‘The project was very challenging and rewarding at the same time, especially as an architect creating our own home.’

The addition respects the existing house yet has an architectural identity of its own. According to the architects, the addition has a reversed character to the main house, containing a series of floating planes. Two abstract volumes are connected by a floating canopy built around a tall Cypress tree.

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life
pool and house curve close up

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life

patio entry with black pine bonsai tree

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life

main entry close up

spatial-practice-lost-lord-house-richard-neutra-la-designboom-01800

main entry

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life

main house & pavilion

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life
top aerial view of the pool

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life
main house & pool cabana close up

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life
sunset north facade

spatial-practice-lost-lord-house-richard-neutra-la-designboom-21800

north facade with mountains reflection

richard neutra's mid-century lord house in los angeles gets a new lease of life

living and library

 

 

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project info:

 

name: Lord House

designer: spatial practice | @spatialpractice

project team: Erik Amir, Dora Chi, Chentian Lu
size: 3,800 sqft
lot size: 26,500 sqft
location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

architecture photographer: Michael Weber

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