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‘Built In’

Written by Anna Caradeuc
Photography by Erik Benjamins

Through November 7, Richard Neutra’s VDL House is hosting ‘Built In’, a collection of new and site-specific works, curated by artist and writer Erik Benjamins in tandem with art and design gallery Marta.

Thirty-two Los Angeles-based creatives – architects, designers, ceramicists, illustrators, writers, olfactory artists, food practitioners and media artists – came together and proposed creative responses to this project aimed at celebrating the life of Richard Neutra and the legacy of the iconic residence as a place for architectural experimentation.

Initially built in 1932, the original VDL House was not only home to Neutra and his family, but his architecture practice as well. After his passing and since the early 90s, the house has been in the hands of the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design and Department of Architecture, in honor of Neutra’s close relationship with the institution. The residence was transformed into a museum and a platform for cultivating art, architecture, culture and education. Currently, it is under the curatorial guidance of directors Noam Saragosti and Juhee Park, both newly-appointed at the beginning of the pandemic.

‘Built In’ is the house’s first exhibition in nearly two years. It presents a series of interventions that engage with the built-in and historic elements of the house, including lighting and furniture, fragrance diffusers, a cooling system, street signage, a bench honoring Frank Lucian Neutra (Richard and Dione Neutral’s eldest son), ceramics, a water fountain serving to combat the white noise from the adjacent Silverlake Boulevard, curtains, a stack of take-away poems reflecting on the relationship between Neutra and his wife, a duo of pill boxes, leisure uniforms, an environmental music composition.

Spatially-aware, sensorially-engaging, and at times poetic, ‘Built In’ celebrates the dialogue between past and present while thoughtfully honoring the residence and the lives of its inhabitants.

Built In features new works by A History of Frogs, Brody Albert, BC, Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Misa Chhan, Jeremiah Chiu, Fiona Connor, Emily Endo, Escher GuneWardena, Andrew Thomas Huang, Nancy Kwon, L.A. Door, Lakes, Jason Lipeles and Janet Soval, New Documents, Kyoko Oshiro, Mina Park and Kwang Uh, Emma T. Price, Alex Reed, Rest Objects, Candice and Darren Romanelli, Nancy Stella Soto and PapiBoyBabyBoy, Stock-A-Studio, Arden Surdam, Terremoto, Three Sheep and Bob Dornberger and TOLO Architecture.

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