Wie Baut Amerika? Richard J. Neutra out to capture modernity

Wie Baut Amerika? Richard J. Neutra out to capture modernity

Richard J. Neutra was an exceedingly interesting architect and person. He emigrated to the United States fascinated by American industry and soon became its most fervent defender. The intelligent work in architectural books and magazines composed during his first years as a professional on the new continent, when he had previously produced but a few pieces, should be taken as a superb example of “mastering the media”, comparable only to the propagandistic work of Le Corbusier. The aim of the present article is to offer a brief, yet sufficiently representative outline of that intellectual universe which was so closely linked to the aesthetics of the machine that accompanied Neutra in his first works. It is no coincidence that in such a short period of time this young architect would progress from a simple collaborator in Erich Mendelsohn’s studio to one of the primary and most important representatives of technological functionalism, and in addition rise to a figure of absolute reference within the panorama of modern global architecture.

The Lovell Health House, completed in 1929, is the work with which Richard J. Neutra became known to the world. Photographs of this house are often published together with a descriptive text in which the architect himself explains not the structure of volume or of the architectural piece, but rather the systems and constructive methods used. The technology used by the architect in this project continues to be overwhelming, even today, evident in the complex electric installation, the special lighting systems, the telephone, projectors, electric stoves, radio, signal system or temperature control device, to say nothing of the circulating air heating system run on illuminating gas.

After analyzing the Lovell Health House in detail, the widespread association of the californian architecture of the austrian architect as representative and symbolic of the American Way of Life, so popular in the 1940’s, is no longer as clear. In fact, the architecture whereby Neutra is recognized today differs significantly from the reality with which Neutra presented himself to European architects, reaching international fame in 1930. His first works represent a strict functionalism, with an unmistakable reference to the theories inherited from Le Corbusier, manifesting themselves as unique, while at the same, time representing the paramount constructed example of the authentic “machine for living”, the faithful representation of which was only possible in the country with the most highly developed technology at the time, the United States of America.

Neutra’s fascination for prefabrication, and in particular for the integration of industrial processes in architecture was nothing new. The architect had actually left his privileged position in Mendelsohn’s study in 1923 to travel to thevast country of automobiles and skyscrapers. From the moment in which he set foot in New York, his impressions were a contrast of amazement and disappointment, but above all, absolute fascination. Neutra had left a Europe that was still scarred by the end of the First World War, and it is not surprising that the pace of American life was more than he was prepared for. Indeed, in one of his first letters Neutra described the new country as, “A place where one continuously buys new socks and throws the old ones away.”

After a time dedicated to exploring the city and collaborating sporadically with several New York studios, Neutra left the city in February of 1924 and headed to Chicago, the city he considered the “center of new architecture”, and which he had defined for some time as the true destination of his American journey. The idea of being in Chicago was overwhelming. Neutra had said on more than one occasion that Chicago was “the center of new architecture,” [i] and he was extremely enthusiastic about the possibility of meeting Sullivan or Wright, as well as visiting their buildings first-hand.

There he began working at the Holabird & Roche studio, the prestigious firm which, together with Adler & Sullivan and Burnham & Root, had become a pioneer in skyscraper design at the end of the 19th century. Neutra thus worked during the following months on designing the Palmer House Hotel. Neutra’s admiration for this building lay primarily in its functional complexity. The evolution of the work, and in particular the work carried out during the final stage of the project only served to strengthen his regard for the precision of American industrialization even further. Neutra himself later described some of these industrial processes, which he then found so seductive, highlighting in particular the prefabrication and construction used in this building:

A European might think that this enormous market should offer the possibility of enhancing opportunities for research and development, which would in turn lead to a profitable growth of the industry, and in particular of the field of construction. (…) Only modern architecture can actually benefit from this, as it not only possesses the ingenuousness and the machinery required to produce new prefabricated pieces but, above all, has the mechanisms for distribution (…) including prefabricated houses commissioned in return, as well as the methods to control them. [ii]

His months working in Chicago, first as a draftsman and later as a collaborator in supervising work on the Palmer House Hotel , made such a deep impression on Neutra that his experience would lead to his first book, entitled Wie Baut Amerika?, [iii] published in 1927 and which later continued to sequel, in all but name, entitled Amerika: Die Stilbildung des neuen Bauens in den Vereinigten Staaten, published in 1930 and formed part of the famous collection Neues Bauen in der Welt, published by Anton & Schroll together with Frankreich by Ginsburger and Russland, by El Lissitzky.[iv]

Wie Baut Amerika? was published in January, 1927 at the hand of the prestigious Julius Hoffmann publishing house in Stuttgart. Neutra had begun work on this project in the summer of 1924 in Chicago. Together with his utopian project Rush City, later called Rush City Reformed after several revisions, the drafting of the document comprised one of the tasks prepared by the architect in his spare time. The manuscript was managed and negotiated in Germany, after Neutra had sent the original to his wife Dione’s parents. His in-laws, the Niedermanns, visited several German and French publishing houses, and even considered the possibility of publishing the work in French, in a translation done by Le Corbusier himself .[v] In the end it was the Julius Hoffmann publishing house that agreed to publish the work, with a first edition of 4400 copies. The original title suggested by Neutra was Amerikanischer Kreis-Amerikanisches Bauen, but the publishers decided to change it to Wie Baut Amerika? – How was America Built?, as they considered that this title would have a greater impact on the public and would attract a greater number of sales. Wie Baut Amerika? comprised the first volume of Baubücher, one of the most prominent book collections published in those years. Neutra’s book preceded Internationale Neue Baukunst by Hilberseimer, and Groszstadtarchitektur by the same author.[vi] The following year, in 1928, two other books by Adolf Schneck were brought out, dealing with the topic of furnishings,[vii] followed by Beton als Gestalter, by Hilberseimer and Julius Vischer,[viii] all included in the same series. The aim of the collection was to create a balance between the desire to offer a more international vision of architecture, in particular in the first three books, and to offer opinions which were more closely linked to modernity.

In spite of it’s somewhat raucous content, Wie Baut Amerika? enjoyed a rapid and widespread circulation. In it, Neutra incorporates descriptions of works constructed on his own theoretical approach, showing that the architect endeavored to disguise his theoretical projects among his executed works, thus ascribing experience which he did not really have to his profile as an architect. Nevertheless, the book manages to take on a logical and highly rigorous character, entirely in line with the German publications of the time. The difficulty in discovering that the theoretical designs are just that, theoretical, inserted among a jumble of information and applause of American industry worked greatly in the architect’s favor, as he suddenly found himself, although not involuntarily, embodying the deep-seated values of modern construction. Meanwhile, for European readers, Neutra seemed to enjoy a prestigious and influential position in the United States, allowing him to make a good impression on German critics, who were enthusiastic to find a reputable author capable of distancing himself sufficiently from the utopian lyricism of Le Corbusier in order to avoid the inconvenience of too closely resembling his aesthetic manifestos.

The book’s general acceptance among European critics was largely due to the review by Henry-Russell Hitchcock in the June edition of Architectural Record, published in 1928.[ix] Hitchcock’s presentation offers an extensive synthesis of the book’s contents, offering special praise of the Rush City project. Particularly remarkable is the way in which the critic presents the author. Hitchcock speaks of Neutra as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Austrian collaborator in the construction of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, and the now American architect who carries out his work in the western half of the country.”

Hitchcock commits a historical error here, confusing Neutra with Rudolf M. Schindler, who actually worked together with Wright in designing the Imperial Hotel. This is but the first in a long series of inaccuracies regarding the authorship of several joint projects attributed solely to Neutra. It is also possible that Hitchcock did not make this error intentionally, as Neutra’s ambition led him to present himself on more than one occasion as an important collaborator of Wright’s, although he had actually only worked with him for a couple of months. Nonetheless, Neutra offered himself to the European public as no less than the successor of the great master Frank Lloyd Wright.

Inaccuracies aside, when Hitchcock presents Neutra to his readers he places particular emphasis on the Rush City project, through which he aims to justify the entire content of the book. He thus minimizes the importance of the extensive main section dedicated to Palmer House Hotel. Hitchcock argues that these key chapters “show the new Palmer House in Chicago in great detail, as a prototypical example of a large scale building.” The reviewer continues, “This section requires no particular comment, at least in America, as it is a strictly conventional steel building.” He also highlights the importance of the photographs illustrating the book, many of them taken by Neutra himself, although according to Hitchcock they should have been “larger and more of them,” as they “speak for themselves, without the necessity of being able to understand German.”

Hitchcock’s final piece of praise delves consciously into the polarization between the figures of Schindler and Neutra, definitively omitting the first. According to Hitchcock, “Neutra presents himself as one of the less than half a dozen architects working in the United States, and the only foreign-trained follower of Wright, truly convinced of the essential relationship between modern design and its manners and methods of construction.” This implicit omission of Schindler signals his definitive exclusion several years later during the International Style Exhibition. Here he was permanently shut out from the panorama of modern architecture until his rediscovery at the end of the 20th century.

Hitchcock places young Neutra, who had completed but a few projects, at the same level as the European masters. The text makes reference to Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and J. J. P. Oud, whom he cited as “the new pioneers” in the previous edition of Architectural Record. [x] In this respect, the critic of Wie Baut Amerika? concludes,

For the architect of Rush City [Neutra], as for the architect of Pessac, Dessau or Rotterdam, architecture is the aesthetic crystallization of engineering solutions to building problems. Creation thus becomes, as was the case of the great architectural structures of the past, a possibility, and what better place than in America itself.

In truth OR reality, Hitchcock was not far off. Neutra’s Wie Baut Amerika? champions a new architecture, staunchly and convincingly defending methods of industrial prefabrication while at the same time contradicting the effective praise of some of the great heroic figures of architecture, such as Wagner, Mendelsohn, Sullivan or Wright himself. Evn so, Neutra shows himself as an architect who is able to combine both positions, with the intention of becoming a new prophet of modern architecture.

Wie Baut Amerika? is 72 pages in length, with 102 illustrations. The first section of the work, approximately the first third, comments on problematic aspects of the modern city, illustrating the possibilities of American architecture and urban design. Transport systems and station and terminal interchanges are also given special attention and to wrap up this first section, Neutra addresses the most specific features of urban design such as zoning and setback regulations in New York City, as well as other building regulations. These first chapters are part of a theoretical body in which Neutra summarizes the primary aspects which ordain construction and urbanism in America. Images of skyscrapers in New York or Chicago are artfully combined with others which illustrate his Rush City project. In this way, detailed plans of the main station of this project are shown immediately after a blueprint of the shopping mall in Chicago with the clear intention of confusing the reader or even of magnifying the theoretical proposals to the point of considering them already built. It is not a coincidence that the photographs used to illustrate the regulatory aspects of American building are exceedingly similar to those used by Mendelsohn in his book Amerika, Bilderbuch eines Architekten,[xi] as this well-known book was brought out the previous year, in 1926, as the result of a trip Mendelsohn took to America in 1924. He met up with Neutra during his visit to Taliesin, as Neutra generally acted as an interpreter for German citizens who went to visit Frank Lloyd Wright. It is thus quite logical to think that Neutra knew of Mendelsohn’s intention of publishing a book, and that he might have even seen some of the material that was to be included.

This information notwithstanding, and contrary to the understanding of Hitchcock, one of the most interesting sections of Wie Baut Amerika? is the middle section, which offers a detailed analysis of the Palmer House Hotel. The text is illustrated in detail through a great number of photographs, the large majority of which were taken by Neutra himself during the months in which he worked in the Holabird & Roche studio while the hotel was being built. Yet from the point of view of the American reader, as Hitchcock points out in his review, this section is not particularly original, as despite the building’s special characteristics, the building process itself does not differ from that used in other important North American metropolises. In any case, we mustn’t forget that here lay the book’s primary audience, and from the point of view of the European reader, the description of the methods, machinery and even the time required to complete the project must have overwhelmed the architects established on the old continent. It is difficult to get through this section of the book without feeling a particular admiration for industrialized construction, as the eloquence with which Neutra narrates all these first-hand experiences quickly captivates the reader.

The description of the Palmer House Hotel in Wie Baut Amerika? fills just over twenty pages. If we consider that the book is but seventy pages in total, the section dedicated to describing the project and construction of Palmer House occupies a significant part the whole book. The section begins by briefly describing the background of the project, the pre-existing building and the studio commissioned to carry out the work. We should point out here the detailed description of the documents comprising the project, specifying the content of each of the blueprints and the scale bar to which they were carried out. The historical value of this information aside, we cannot help but be amazed by the systematic rigor with which Neutra describes the project, from the determining factors prior to the formal approval of the commission to the comprehensive description of the attached blueprints and the intentions of his designers.

The last pages dedicated to the Palmer House Hotel offer a description of the building systems used, outlined in a rigorous and scientific manner. This section of the book concludes with three suggestive photographs showing an enormous seventy-ton metal beam being transported, on the strut of which can be read nothing more than “American Bridge”.

Following the detailed typological and constructive analysis of the Palmer House Hotel, Neutra addresses other building methods and materials not used in this project. This section is illustrated with photographs of small buildings, among them the Pueblo Ribera Houses, built by Rudolf Schindler in La Jolla in 1923, and several homes built in Los Angeles by Frank Lloyd Wright at the beginning of the 1920s using prefabricated concrete blocks.

Several pages on, together with a photograph of the most emblematic building of the University of Pittsburgh commonly called “The Cathedral of Learning”, Neutra offers a perspective of one of his projects for an office building, reused later on both by Neutra in an article in the Architectural Record in 1929 and by Hitchcock in his summary, “Also shown is a building by the author himself to be used for an office building, using entirely modern practices in American industry, without darkening it with the use of masonry or ornamentation.” This project of Neutra’s aims to connect with traditional abstract american adobe architecture, to which he makes reference. It is quite interesting that Hitchcock comments on this building as though it had actually been built, when the project was nothing more than an idea. Naturally, in Wie Baut Amerika?, Neutra offers his praise for the qualities of this project, “in which a church, a bank, hairstyling salons, cafeterias, clothing stores, offices and even a public parking lot are brought together!” [xii] Both the image of this office project and the photograph of the University of Pittsburgh, much smaller than that of Neutra’s project, aim to defend high-rise buildings, in which the extension of space and the combination of uses was made possible. Finally, after having praised the technology whereby these projects could be made possible, Wie Baut Amerika? trails off into a reference to indigenous building methods, showing them to be the genesis and origin of modern architecture in California and, by extension, the United States.

It is clear that the power of industry and the machine did not leave society indifferent, as people were compelled to declare themselves either in favor for or against, creating diametrically opposite poles. Neutra defends his pro-industrial stance throughout the book and it is not until the last five pages that he makes reference to traditional architecture. Neutra wraps up his machine manifesto in a politically correct manner, offering a double reading which opened doors for him both towards the defenders of mass construction and for a public that was more respectful of tradition and the environment, with the aim of showing this last group that modern architecture derived from the most deep-rooted indigenous traditions. In this regard he publishes a series of photographs of traditional buildings the of New Mexican area, alluding the composition created through prismatic volumes. As an example of modern architecture in harmony with the environment, he offers a photograph of the University of Albuquerque project created by George W. Tight, and several snapshots of the hotel that Lloyd Wright, son of the master, had built in Palm Springs around 1922.

It is clear that fortune in general, and Hitchcock in particular, were on Neutra’s side. They made it look, in Europe at least, as if the young architect had a consolidated foothold in the United States, when in truth, at the time Wie Baut Amerika? was published, Neutra had, up until this point, only worked on the building site of the Palmer House Hotel overseeing the installations.

Wie Baut Amerika? quickly became one of the most significant and influential American architectural manifestos in Europe, widely read by the public. It goes without saying that most of Neutra’s success was owing to the clear favoritism with which Hitchcock received him. The publication of this text marked the manner in which European architects would view North American architecture from that moment on, and it soon became the ultimate book of reference. Moreover, we mustn’t forget that Wie Baut Amerika? entered the German architectural scene with great force, as it was published by one of the most important publishing houses of the it’s day OR time in the architectural world, an influence which would spread throughout Europe thanks to the predominant position of the German publishing industry. The Julius Hoffmann publishing house even included reviews of Neutra’s text written by European journalists in some of the publisher’s other books by way of publicity. L’Enterprise from Zurich, for example, described it like this:

The work of Mr. Richard J. Neutra is not a simple construction manual, but rather a highly suggestive reading for both architects and engineers interested in the modern issues of traffic and construction. The outstanding presentation of the book, in particular as regards the printing of illustrations, as well as its energetic style, have earned it the devotion of countless readers. [xiii]

The Berlin newspaper Die Bauguilde went one step further in their review of the book, describing Neutra as an architect who had designed great skyscrapers when in fact, at that time he had built but a few small projects in California.

This text was written by a specialist, the very same who has constructed great buildings in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. A finer feature on the marvelous world of American architecture could not be written, if not by the pen of those who are intimately familiar with the difficulties of building in that country: technicians with a profound knowledge of numbers and materials and their use. [xiv]

It is clear that in Europe, and in particular in the Germanic sphere, Neutra had entered the scene with tremendous success, not only as an expert in management and building systems for the legendary and as yet unknown American architecture, but also by filling the void that, the now neglected, Frank Lloyd Wright had left. Wie Baut Amerika? immediately became a point of reference, acting with substantial influence on later publications due not only to the theoretical content of the book, but also to the suggestive photos and illustrations that accompanied the text, making it possible to visually take in the full content. This made the publication tremendously attractive even for readers who were unfamiliar with the German language.

One of the clearest influences can be found in the book published by Ludwig Hilberseimer at the end of that same year, 1927, entitled Groszstadtarchitektur, which comprised the third volume of the Baubücher collection brought out by the Julius Hoffmann publishing house. Hilberseimer mentions Neutra’s Wie Baut Amerika? as an important bibliographical reference, together with other singular works such as Behrens’ Vom sparsamen Bauen,[xv] Urbanisme, by Le Corbusier,[xvi] and Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe, a Wasmuth edition dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright.[xvii] In forming part of this list, Neutra became a conclusive point of reference in architecture, as the importance that Hilberseimer’s text acquired in the development of modern architectural thought became widely recognized. [xviii] Likewise, Hilberseimer makes direct and explicit reference to Neutra’s book by including the project for the Rush City terminal, described in great detail in Wie Baut Amerika?, as an example to follow in the design of large transport interchanges:

The Rush City terminal, by Richard J. Neutra, is duplicated in another building in the north of the city. The two buildings are interconnected by four underground passenger railway lines and two transport service lines, making it possible to combine urban and intercity traffic. The terminal is directly connected to urban subway lines; streetcars likewise stop at the terminal, so no passenger is required to cross the street to enter the station. The hotel which is expected to be built at the end of the station is directly connected to train platforms by way of a tunnel. [xix]

This short, ambiguous text, in which it is not entirely clear if Neutra’s design is a theoretical or executed project, is complemented by two perspective shots of the Rush City airport recently published in Wie Baut Amerika?, which go so far as to use identical subtitles.[xx]

We mustn’t forget that for Neutra, the few months working at Taliesin alongside Wright offered him, in addition to experience in the creation of several architectural projects, an initial contact within the world of publishing. In fact, the young architect was responsible for preparing and translating part of the material which would in the end help to comprise the special editions that Wendingen magazine was preparing on the work of Wright.[xxi] It is difficult to pin down the exact work Neutra carried out to prepare these publications, although if we consider the magnitude of the publication as a whole, as well as the quality of the texts, it is reasonable to think that he was extremely familiar with the work of Wright and his contemporaries. In addition, as he had completed his training as an advertising executive in Vienna before his arrival in the United States, the experience Neutra acquired during the preparation of these texts proved quite valuable, if not definitive, for the successful publication several years later of Wie Baut Amerika.

Neutra’s European origins, and in particular his fluency in German, also contributed to his status as the only American correspondent of the European graphic industry and collaborator on various occasions of the prestigious publications Das Neue Frankfurt and Architectural Record. In fact, Neutra’s collaboration with Das Neue Frankfurt began in 1928 and continued more or less uninterrupted until 1931, and the content of his articles nearly always came from texts published in his books. [xxii]

Neutra’s emergence was crucial following his first association with Das Neue Frankfurt in April of 1928.[xxiii] The publication of his article entitled Um die neue Gestaltung. Amerika placed him in a privileged position within the European scene. Neutra soon became a more than acceptable substitute for Wright, who had progressively disappeared from the avant garde. The article was published and signed, “Richard J. Neutra, American Institute of Architects”, making use of the prized license the architect had acquired at the beginning of 1926. The brief biography of Neutra is accompanied by a flashy photo of the architect, posed in the semblance of a great master. The biographical summary mentions his period of training with Otto Wagner, and concludes appropriately with the following phrase, “…he traveled to America, where he befriended Sullivan and Wright. He currently works in Los Angeles.” It is quite clear that the magazine introduces Neutra as an important figure who rubbed elbows with some of the greatest legends in American architecture. While it is true that Neutra felt a great admiration for Sullivan, it would perhaps be a bit excessive to say that they were actually friends. Although both architects did meet on several occasions, they in fact had very little time to get to know each other. Neutra arrived in Chicago in March of 1924, and Sullivan died in the windy city in mid-April of the same year. It is a similar situation to what happened with Wright, although in this case the fact that Neutra had worked in his studio for several months led them to establish a deeper friendship.

This would be the trend for Neutra’s remaining dealings with the German magazine. By way of example, the following issue of Das Neue Frankfurt, published in May 1928, includes several photographs of the project Neutra had undertaken for the reform of the Lovell Physical Culture Center, the first documents of the Lovell Health House, and a short review of the Lovell Beach House by Schindler.[xxiv] Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of published graphic documentation, it can only be inferred that the interest of Das Neue Frankfurt centered, at least at that moment, on topics not strictly related to architecture. The title of the article says it all: Amerika. Körperübung und gegenwärtige Bauarbeit, making t abundantly clear where the emphasis of the article lies. Here, the possible modernity developed in formalizing architecture is eclipsed by a phenomenon which caused an even greater impact on a European society that still retained a vague, yet ever-present recollection of the First World War: the flourishing American way of life.

The intensity with which Neutra describes all these aspects related to the progress of American society draws the thrust of his texts away from architectural aspects, transforming them instead into the chronicles of an architect in the New World. Architecture gives way to industry. Construction seems to lose interest in the face of prefabrication. The traditional methods used to execute homes in Europe were a far cry from the precision of the methods used on the new continent. It is clear that Neutra, submerged in an intense mission of propaganda, had found an unparalleled ally in the German magazine. Das Neue Frankfurt was likewise able to offer, through sporadic collaboration from the American continent, a much broader perspective which its readers, enthusiastic about the internationalization of the avant garde, would surely appreciate.

This mystical halo surrounding Neutra, thanks to the enormous success garnered from the publication of Wie Baut Amerika? and his collaboration with Das Neue Frankfurt, was used by the architect for his definitive consolidation in 1930 as the primary representative of the North American avant garde and an indisputable point of reference of modernity in that country. It is widely known that Neutra dedicated the whole of that year to promoting himself around the globe, and in particular to championing what can be considered his first relevant building, the Lovell Health House. Neutra also seduced the Japanese and gained a recognized and privileged position among the European public, going so far as to receive an invitation from Mies van der Rohe to participate actively in the Bauhaus movement for six weeks. In the spring of 1930, Neutra began a long journey that would end in Europe. He set sail from California and crossed the Pacific, stopping off to Japan in order to “see some things in the Orient before arriving in Europe.” The most relevant point of his stay in Japan was the opportunity of presenting the Lovell Health House in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in preparation for his European tour. On the old continent, Neutra lectured in cities such as Amsterdam and Basel. In fact, all of Neutra’s lectures were quite similar in content, placing special and nearly exclusive emphasis on the presentation of the Lovell Health House.

This occurred to such a degree that Wright himself, in a letter to Lewis Mumford, later made reference to the content of Neutra’s European lectures, commenting, “he was invited to give a lecture in Amsterdam, and Neutra bored the audience with 76 slides, 65 of which were of his Health House.” The sardonic charge of Wright’s comment was more than justified. The truth is, at the time in which Wright wrote these lines (January 1932), Neutra was launched forward by his participation in the International Style Exhibition and was considered the greatest, if not the only exponent of American modernity, having definitively displaced Wright and entirely omitted Schindler.

We should not be left indifferent by Wright’s comment on Neutra’s European lectures, however. While it is true that at that moment Neutra had executed very few projects, the mere description of the Lovell Health House was enough to seduce the greatest exponents of modern European architecture who, like Mies, saw this house as the consummate representation of the basic premises of the purest functionalism. The authentic machine for living had finally been executed, a building in which state-of-the-art industry and technology combined with architecture to provide a joint response. Neutra unashamedly omitted descriptions of composition and volume, aware that the execution of a pure, white glass prism would remain in the background. It could be built anywhere in the world, but the technology used, typical of skyscrapers and the automobile and aeronautical industries, was only available in the United States.

[i] Letter from Richard J. Neutra to Dione Neutra, February, 1924, in Thomas Hines: Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 48.
[ii] Richard J. Neutra: Life and Shape, Appleton-Century-Crofts, New York, 1962, p. 190.
[iii] Richard J. Neutra: Wie Baut Amerika?. Gegenwärtige Bauarbeit Amerikanischer Kreis, Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1927.
[iv] Roger Ginsburger: Frankreich. Die entwicklung der neuen Ideen nach Konstruktion und Form, Antón Schroll & Co, Vienna, 1930; El Lissitzky: Russland. Die Rekonstruktion der Architektur in der Sowietunion, Anton Schroll & Co, Vienna, 1930.
[v] Cfr. Fondation Le Corbusier, E2 17, T2 18.
[vi] Ludwig Hilberseimer: Internationale Neue Baukunst, Julius Hoffman, Stuttgart, 1927; Ludwig Hilberseimer: Groszstadtarchitektur, Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1927.
[vii] Adolf G. Schneck: Der Stuhl, stuhltypen aus verschiedenen Ländern und versuche neuzeitliche lösungen in ansichten uns massziechnungen, Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1928; Adolf G. Schneck : Das Möbel als Gebrauchsgegenstand, Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1928.
[viii] Ludwig Hilberseimer / Julius Vischer: Beton als Gestalter, Julius Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1928.
[ix] Henry-Russell Hitchcock: How America Builds, in Architectural Record, vol. 63, nº 6, June 1928, pp. 594-595.
[x] Henry-Russell Hitchcock: Modern Architecture. The New Pioneers, in Architectural Record, vol. 63, nº 5, May 1928, pp. 453-460.
[xi] Erich Mendelsohn: Amerika, Bilderbuch eines Architekten, Rudolf Mosse Buchverlag, Berlin, 1926.
[xii] Richard J. Neutra: Wie Baut Amerika?, p. 72.
[xiii] L’Enterprise, Zürich, in Ludwig Hilberseimer: Groszstadtarchitektur, p. 107.
[xiv] Die Baugilde, Berlin, in Ludwig Hilberseimer: Groszstadtarchitektur, p. 107.
[xv] Peter Behrens / Heinrich de Fries: Vom sparsamen Bauen, Verlag der Bauwelt, Berlin, 1918.
[xvi] Le Corbusier: Urbanisme, Crès & Cie, Paris, 1925.
[xvii] Frank Lloyd Wright: Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe, Ernst Wasmuth A.-G., Berlin, 1910.
[xviii] See also Juan José Lahuerta: 1927. La abstracción necesaria en el arte y la arquitectura europea de entre guerras, Anthropos, Barcelona, 1989; Richard Pommer: In the Shadow of Mies, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Architect, Educator and Urban Planner, Rizzoli International Publications, Chicago, 1988; David Spaeth: Ludwig Karl Hilberseimer: An Annotated Bibliography and Chronology, Garland, New York, 1981.
[xix] Ludwig Hilberseimer: Groszstadtarchitektur, pp. 79-81.
[xx] In Hilberseimer’s book, illustrations nos. 188 and 190, p. 80 and p. 81, on the Rush City project have been literally extracted from illustrations number 5 and 2, p. 11 and p. 9, from Wie Baut Amerika?, eliminating only the thick black border with which Neutra had published them.
[xxi] Wendingen magazine was published from 1918 to 1931. A total of 116 editions were published, offering the expressionist ideas of the Amsterdam School. The architectural journal debated issues related to technological innovation and contributions, as well as other humanistic aspects linked to architecture. The publication managed to distance itself from other similar publications due to the international nature of its content, the attention given to print and cover design, and in its final editions, for the importance given to image over text. See also: Martin F. Le Coultre: Wendingen. A Journal for the Arts, 1918-1932, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2001.
[xxii] Neutra’s collaboration in Das Neue Frankfurt began in April, 1928, and continued more or less uninterruptedly until 1931, while his association with Architectural Record was less intense and was limited to the inclusion of three articles. The content of Neutra’s collaboration in these journals is closely related to that of his two books, such that together they comprise a theoretical statement of capital importance in referencing Neutra’s first works. See also Richard J. Neutra: Um die Neue Gestaltung. Amerika, in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº4, Year 2, April 1928, pp. 68-71; Richard J. Neutra: Amerika. Körperübung und gegenwärtige Bauarbeit, in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº5, Year 2, May 1928, pp. 90-92; Richard J. Neutra: Amerika. Bauliche Stilbildung. Bemühungen Einzelner, in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº9, Year 2, September 1928, pp. 173-174; Richard J. Neutra: Hauseinrichtung. Mailorderhäuser. Möbelmessen in Amerika, in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº2, Year 3, February 1929, p. 43; Richard J. Neutra: Um die Neue Gestaltung. Verkehr und Bauen in Amerika, in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº7-8, Year 3, July-August 1929, pp. 160-161; Richard J. Neutra: Architecture Conditioned by Engineering and Industry, in Architectural Record, vol. 66, nº3, September 1929, pp. 272-274; Richard J. Neutra: City Planning, in Architectural Record, vol. 66, nº5, November 1929, p. 504; Richard J. Neutra: Terminals? – Transfer!, in Architectural Record, vol. 68, nº2, August 1930, pp. 99-104; Richard J. Neutra: Bericht aus Amerika. Umbaute Grössträume in U.S., in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº9, Year 5, September 1931, pp. 171-173.
[xxiii] Richard J. Neutra: Um die neue Gestaltung in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº4, Year 2, April 1928, pp. 68-71.

[xxiv]Richard J. Neutra: AMERIKA. Körperübung und gegenwärtige Bauarbeit, in Das Neue Frankfurt, nº5, Year 2, May 1928, pp. 90-91.


Título: Wie Baut Amerika? Richard J. Neutra out to capture modernity
Autor: Rubén Alcolea


Título: Building America. Migration der Bilder
Edita: Thelem DE, 2007, pp. 235-251
Autor: Köth, Anke / Krauskopt, Kai / Schwarting, Andreas (Ed.)
ISBN: 978-3-939888-18-5