Richard Neutra's Miller House

Stephen Leet

     8 × 10 in (20.3 × 25.4 cm)
192 pages
120 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 4/1/2004
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568982748

At the dawn of his international fame, architect Richard Neutra was approached by a St. Louis socialite, Grace Lewis Miller, to design a small winter home on the edge of glamour-baked Palm Springs. Miller wanted an open, light-filled house that could also act as a studio for her fashionably avant-garde exercise course in posture and grace, "The Mensendieck System." This unique program, combined with the desert landscape and the proactive, health-minded client appealed to the idealist in Neutra. The frequent, fervent dialog between Neutra and Miller, who had great mutual respect, produced a work of forward-thinking and artful architecture.

In Richard Neutra's Miller House, Stephen Leet traces the conception and realization of the house, examines the complex relationship between architect and client, and shows how the Mensendieck System influenced the creation of this seminal Neutra project. Beautiful duotone photographs by Julius Shulman, excerpts from the detailed correspondence between Neutra and Miller, and sketches and drawings provide valuable insight into the design process.

Like the houses of Albert Frey, a contemporary of Neutra's who also build in the desert, the Miller House shows how architecture, the California landscape, and an interest in well-being can intersect in a moment of the architectural sublime.

Stephen Leet is an architecture professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

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