Perhaps the name, “Neutra” stirs up more than any other, the images of Modernist Architecture. Son and partner to his late, great father, Richard Neutra, Dion grew up in the household with his famous parents, Richard and Dionne, in an atmosphere of sophistication and scholarship. At the tender age of 11, he began his apprenticeship in his father’s office. After service in the U.S. Navy during WWII, Dion attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and then graduated cum laude from USC in 1950. Due to the extensive training and experience he had received in his formative years, he passed the rigorous 4-day state board examination and received his California license at the young age of 24. In the same year, he became one of the youngest members of the American Institute of Architects.
Dion spent the decade of the 50s in continued close association with his father as well as the partnership of Neutra & Alexander. The architecture produced by the firm during that time included the award-winning designs of the U.S. Embassy in Karachi, Pakistan, The Gettysburg Lincoln Memorial, libraries for Adelphi, Reno and Simpson Universities, the Science Building at St. John’s College, and theMain Library for Huntington Beach, CA.
After a brief period of private practice, Dion rejoined his father’s firm as vice-president and partner. He was engaged in the reconstruction of the VDL Research House in Silver Lake, which was gutted by fire in March, 2003. He became principal of the newly-renamed firm in 1965, and has continued to lead it as President since his father’s death in 1970.
Over the years, Dion has authored scores of articles, two books and has been the subject of articles, TV interviews, and has curated several exhibitions of the firm’s work. His recent focus is on the preservation and conservation of the Neutra projects as they adapt to new owners and uses over time. A highlight of this effort was the declaration in 2000 by the World Monuments Watch of the VDL Research House as one of the 100 most endangered world monuments of that year, along with projects as old as 10,000 years. (this marked the first time that a modernist contemporary building had been so identified, and the only one on the list where its architect was still among the living!)
Dion continues with new design projects including work in Europe. He is working on several new books, one of which is entitled. “The Neutras, Then and Later”. In addition, Dion serves as Executive Consultant to the Institute for Survival Through Design, a non-profit organization formed in the 60s to educate and research issues relevant to Modernist architecture, specifically the contributions of the Neutra Practice. In 2004, the Institute conferred upon Dion its first award of Fellow, in honor of his many years of service and accomplishments.
For more information on Dion Neutra and the Neutra family and architectural practice, please visit http://www.Neutra.org.