You’ll Soon Be Able to Buy a Replica of Richard Neutra's Legendary Glass Penthouse
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You’ll Soon Be Able to Buy a Replica of Richard Neutra's Legendary Glass Penthouse

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By Anna Squier
Outdoor brand KETTAL has partnered with Richard Neutra's son to offer replicas of the architect's famous glass penthouse.

In 2020, you'll be able to purchase a perfect replica of the masterpiece that topped Richard Neutra's VDL Research House in the hills of Los Angeles, California. The history of the penthouse goes back to 1963, when Neutra and his son Dion rebuilt the VDL Research House after a destructive fire. During the rebuild, they added a glass penthouse designed for relaxing and connecting with nature.

The VDL Penthouse measures 39’ x 12’, and it’s a direct replica of the penthouse built for Neutra's VDL Research Home.

The VDL Penthouse measures 39’ x 12’, and it’s a direct replica of the penthouse built for Neutra's VDL Research Home.

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The original penthouse features sliding glass doors that open the living spaces to the surrounding landscape. The project incorporates many design strategies Neutra learned from his years of practice: modular composition, passive climate control, and interaction with the natural environment.

The new structures are designed to be installed in a variety of settings, such as gardens, rooftops, and patios.

The new structures are designed to be installed in a variety of settings, such as gardens, rooftops, and patios.

The penthouse is enclosed almost completely in glass.

The penthouse is enclosed almost completely in glass.

KETTAL is creating two replicas of the space: a true-to-form building called the VDL Penthouse, and another version with no glass called the VDL Pavilion. The replicas align with Dion and Richard Neutra’s original design, although KETTAL has updated the materials and construction techniques to today’s standards.

The VDL Pavilion is open to nature, with no glass walls. Vertical fins provide shading along one wall.

The VDL Pavilion is open to nature, with no glass walls. Vertical fins provide shading along one wall.

The vertical fins allow light and air to pass into the pavilion, while providing some protection from the elements.

The vertical fins allow light and air to pass into the pavilion, while providing some protection from the elements.

The horizontal expression of the roof, the slenderness and setback of the columns, and the indoor/outdoor connection remains.

The horizontal expression of the roof, the slenderness and setback of the columns, and the indoor/outdoor connection remains.

The dominant horizontal lines, the oversized roof with columns set back from the facade, and the distinguishing chimney have been preserved. A new smart home system provides automated control for the electrical and lighting systems. The replicas blend midcentury design with modern-day features, inspired by the ingenious creativity of the original architects.

The replicas will be available in 2020 for an undisclosed amount.

The replicas will be available in 2020 for an undisclosed amount.

In the near future, you can own a piece of design history—your own glass penthouse designed to the exact measurements of Neutra's original work. KETTAL will also be offering customization options—the VDL Pavilion can be manufactured according to the needs of clients with just the roof, one or two covered sides, and multiple louver options.

The original VDL Research House served as Richard Neutra’s home and office until his death in 1970. It has recently been preserved and is open to the public for tours.

Related Reading: Iconic Perspectives: Richard Neutra's VDL Studio & Residences, How Neutra’s Kaufmann House Got its Groove Back 

Project Credits:

Architects of Record: Jose Maria Morales & Antonio Navarro

Builder: KETTAL

Structural Engineer: Carles Romea