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In the News: A Richard Neutra in Dire Straits

The Los Angeles Times' "The Clock Is Ticking For Richard Neutra's VDL Research House II" is a story about the "fabled glass box on Silver Lake Boulevard in Los Angeles," designed by renowned midcentury modernist architect Richard Neutra and owned by nonprofit Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, and faces sale if upward of $2 million is not raised by supporters by the end of the year. Saturday tours of the landmark have recently begun to raise money for the cause, and awareness of its need for restoration. Visitors can witness firsthand some of its problems, including termite damage, asbestos, cracked and dried reflecting pools, jammed sliding doors, and an electric system that no longer functions.
While midcentury modern design is experiencing a boom, and people like Diane Keaton are restoring equally important homes, you wonder why an architectural landmark could be in dire need of preservation. Neutra's son, Dion Neutra, who once worked to rebuild the house after a fire, says, "It’s a result of benign neglect for the 20 years since my family donated the house to Cal Poly." While it's understandable that a home that's been uninhabited for so long could be overlooked, the thought of it selling to a private party, and becoming unavailable to the public, is a glum one.
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