“Vanishing Act” by Alex Ross is a concise history, with house photographs, of the Austrian-born architect Richard Neutra, the pioneer of the Southern California modern architecture in the 1930s. The article appears in the September 27, 2021 issue of The New Yorker.
Neutra’s benchmark was floor-to-ceiling windows and mirrored sliding doors to dissolve boundary between the abundant greenery of Los Angeles and the interior of the house. Like Frank Loyd Wright, he favored flat roofs and minimalist exteriors He sited most of his houses where the residents could enjoy a glorious view.
The architect, as a man, was far different than his calm architecture. He’s been described as pompous and overbearing, barging into his clients’ houses without warning to show his new clients and his entourage his finished work.
The article describes the friendship and then the bitter falling-out of Neutra and Schindler, five years Neutra’s senior. They were acquaintances…

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