Richard Neutra's Kaufmann House

For our next adventure in Palm Springs, Matt and I took a self-guided modern residential architecture tour. We picked up a special map at the Visitor's Center and off we went.

One of the first things to catch our eye on the map was the Kaufmann house designed by the great and famous Richard Neutra. We had tried to find a few other famous houses on the tour before this one, but they were all up private drives and you could just barely get a glimpse of them nestled half way up the San Jacinto mountains. So I didn't get my hopes up of actually seeing the Kaufmann House.

Holy crap! It's right there on the street! We couldn't believe it. I've seen the house in books, and drooled over it many times, but to see it in person, I felt starstruck!

The landscaping is absolutely beautiful.

Edgar Kaufmann Sr. also hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design Fallingwater for him 10 years before (around 1936). He toyed with the idea of hiring him again for a West coast residence, but decided against it. He wanted something lighter and more luxurious than Fallingwater or, say, Taliesin West.

Both Fallingwater and the Kaufmann House utilize stone masonry and a percieved gentle weightlessness on the earth, but Neutra's philosophy is that his house is "made, not grown" a direct contradiction of Wright's ideals. I find it fascinating how two very different architects can have so many similarities in their work, yet be relatively opposite in their philosophy.

A great book to learn more about this amazing house and the rest of Neutra's work, I recommend Neutra by Barbara Lamprecht, part of the Taschen Basic Architecture Series ($10 on Amazon--buy a bunch of them!)

Seeing this house in person was amazing. Obviously, we just saw it from the driveway (there were small signs warning of an "armed response" to any trespassers), but to two modern architecture nerds, it was enough!

Actually, driving through this neighborhood (West Vista de Chino and surrounding), we saw a ton of super-amzing mid-century modern homes. We saw Elvis's Honeymoon House (actually a bit ugly) and tried to find The House of the Future, but our map proved to be flawed or very hard to follow in this particular instance.

In all, very much worth the $5 map!

Next up: Joshua Tree National Park

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