"Despite its modest size and materials, despite its lack of renown, and despite its obscure location, the Kuhns House is a masterpiece." - Barbara Lamprecht

Considered a "historic resource" by Historic Places LA, the Los Angeles Historic Resources Inventory states that the John Lary and Pauline Kuhns House is "an excellent example of Mid- Century Modern architecture." Its Period of Significance is 1964, the year of its construction. Meticulously maintained by the family, the house retains consummate integrity, with almost every material and detail intact and original. The property's historic significance is no less remarkable, beginning with commissioning clients who were long familiar with the work of Richard Neutra (1892 - 1970) but in different ways: as a child, John Lary Kuhns played at the iconic Lovell Health House, Los Angeles, 1929; Pauline B. Kuhns taught at the progressive University Elementary School at UCLA, 1950, designed by Neutra and (Robert E.) Alexander. The John Lary and Pauline Kuhns House meets the criteria established by the City of Los Angeles for designation as a Historic-Cultural Monument under Criterion 3 in that it "embodies the distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period, or method of construction; or represents a notable work of a master designer, builder, or architect whose individual genius influenced his or her age." It is a notable work of master architect, Richard Neutra, whose individual genius has profoundly affected his age and the built fabric of Southern California and far beyond. The building's Period of Significance is January 1, 1964, the date of its completion. - LA HCM Submission Documents

(Richard Neutra at the Kuhns house)

"Richard Joseph Neutra (1892-1970) is considered one of Modernism's most important architects. Neutra was born in Vienna, Austria on April 8, 1892. He studied under Adolf Loos at the Technical University of Vienna, was influenced by Otto Wagner, and worked for a time in Germany in the studio of Erich Mendelsohn. He moved to the United States by 1923 and worked briefly for Frank Lloyd Wright "before accepting an invitation from his close friend and university companion Rudolf Schindler to work and live communally in Schindler's Kings Road House in West Hollywood. In California, he became celebrated for rigorously geometric but airy structures that symbolized a West Coast variation on the Mid-Century Modern residence. In the early 1930s, Neutra's Los Angeles practice trained several young architects who went on to independent success, including Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and Raphael Soriano. 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. His domestic architecture was a blend of art, landscape and practical comfort. Neutra died in Wuppertal, Germany, on April 16, 1970. Other works by Neutra include the Jardinette Apartments (1929, HCM #390), Sten/Frenke- Gould Residence (1934, HCM #647), Kun Residence (1936, HCM #1006), Landfair Apartments (1937, HCM #320), Kelton Apartments (1941, HCM #365), the Maxwell House (1941, HCM #808), and the Cytron House (1961, HCM #1148)." - LA HCM Submission Documents

  • NeutraKuhns: LA Historic Place
  • LA HCM Submission Documents
  • LA Historic Landmark Programs
  • Neutra.org Neutra Legacy
  • Neutra Houses Worldwide

  • (Pauline Kuhns with Richard Neutra, 1969)

    "Initially the couple first called the Neutra office not because they expected to hire the great architect himself. Rather, considering their modest means, they asked for a recommendation for an architect who was empathetic to Neutra's architecture: the glass, the feeling of openness, the materials and textures. To their surprise, Richard Neutra himself got on the phone. A long conversation ensued of questions that Neutra posed, somewhat sternly, not trying to sell his services: what did they like about his work, budget, etc. By conversation's end, he decided it would be an interesting project. Neutra sent them a detailed questionnaire designed to help them acquire the most favorable lot, for views; the lot that the couple finally chose, after continuous input from Neutra, was overlooking the fairway of a golf course, surrounded on both sides by woodland." - HCM Application

    (Neutra photographs completed house)

    The Kuhns family moved into the house in 1964 but the Kuhns' contracted Neutra in early 1959. The office assisted in selection of the lot which was purchased in August 1960 and the plans were completed by December 1960. After an initial round of bids and loan applications in 1961 the project was put on hold for financial reasons. Finally in 1963 the bank approved a loan for the Kuhns family to build the house and grading of the lot began. November 1964 was the first letter from John Lary Kuhns to Richard Neutra stating: "We have finally moved into our beautiful home. I would have written sooner, but the last week has been quite hectic. ... I have a new home and a new job, but fortunately the same wife."

    (courtesy Stephen Schafer Photographer)

  • Ventura Blvd: Neutra in the 818
  • Daily News, 2020 HCM Application
  • The CA Modernist, Dave Weinstein
  • A Nod to Mod 2020 Slideshow
  • NeutraKuhns Online Images
  • NeutraKuhns HCM Nomination 2019 (100MB pdf)

  • Laura Moody, laura.moody@acm.org

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