Kaufmann Desert House
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Architect Richard Neutra
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Location Palm Springs, California   map
Date 1946   timeline
Building Type house
 Construction System and glass walls
Climate desert
Context suburban
Style California Modern
Notes Flat roofs, opening onto paved courtyard areas.





Plan Drawing

Discussion Kaufmann Desert House Commentary

"The Kaufmann house, Palm Springs, 1946, moved in the direction of the pavilion, which is Neutra's last development in domestic architecture. Horizontal planes resting on horizontal planes hover over transparent walls. The material loses its importance—magnificent as the dry-joint stone walls are in themselves—and the gist of the house is the weightless space enclosed. The victory over the front door is almost complete; it is reached by slow stages, like the Mexican house whose entrance on the street leads through a garden to an unemphasized door."

— Esther McCoy. Richard Neutra. p16-17.

The Creator's Words

"As an architect, my life has been governed by the goal of building environmental harmony, functional efficiency, and human enhancement into the experience of everyday living. These things go together, constituting the cause of architecture, and a life devoted to their realization cannot be an easy one.

"I have been privileged, or perhaps doomed, to eschew simpler, lighter burdens. Shaping man's surroundings entails a lot more than spatial, structural, mechanical, and other technical considerations—certainly a lot more than pontificating about matters of style. Our organic well-being is dependent on a wholesome, salubrious environment. Therefore exacting attention has to be paid to our intricate sensory world."

— Richard Neutra. from William Marlin, ed. Nature Near: late essays of Richard Neutra. p1-2.

Sources on Kaufmann Desert House

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. LC 79-18045. NA2760.C46. eye-level exterior perspective, p101. plan, p229. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at Amazon.com

Thomas S.Hines. Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press. 1982. Exterior photograph of rear facade, f250, p211. Exterior photograph of rear facade, f284, p209.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. small exterior photo, p255. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at Amazon.com

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. exterior photo at dusk, plan drawing, p164. — Available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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