nonzero\architecture / studio bau:ton, los angeles
It's a significant accomplishment when an architect is entrusted with a Richard Neutra house. Peter Grueneisen has had the good fortune to work on this particular 1949 Neutra design not just once, but twice—and for two different clients. The first phase, done from 1995 to 1999, centered on the landscape/hardscape. The second phase, from 1999 to 2002, involved significant renovation of the first-floor master bathroom and kitchen and the addition of a second story containing two bedrooms, a bath, and a sitting area.
Researching Neutra's work and “learning how the house was put together” was especially interesting for Grueneisen. “We tried to expand what had been started in a way that blended in, without pretending that it was old but that it was seamless at the end,” says the Swiss-born architect. “Both owners made the conscious decision that whatever was done should blend in. Among architects the approach might be stronger and more different [than the original]. But we weren't there to try to trump the original or to compete with it.” The judges agreed. “There are wonderful pieces added. He takes a good house and skillfully makes some more of it.”
principal in charge / project architect / interior designer: Peter Grueneisen, nonzero\architecture / studio bau:ton
general contractor: Joe Conti, Macon Construction, Pacific Palisades, Calif. (phase 1) and Ric Babcock, Ric BabcockMBR Construction, Lake Arrowhead, Calif. (phase 2)
structural engineer: Parker Resnick, Los Angeles (phase 1) and Gordon Polon, Santa Monica, Calif. (phase 2)
landscape architects: Pamela Burton, Burton & Company Landscape Architecture, Santa Monica and Donna West, Donna West Design, Venice, Calif.
project size: 3,880 square feet
construction cost: Withheld
photographer: John Ellis