Richard Neutra, biorealist



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Over the course of his long career, architect Richard Neutra developed his notion of biorealism, a theory distinct from the modernist movement. Biorealism was no mere aesthetic approach; it applied the biological and psychological sciences to foster solutions for the built environment. Influences from Neutra’s formative years led him to believe that biorealistic design was the only way the human race would survive. He spent his life and career devoted to this single cause. This thesis explores Neutra’s definition of biorealism, using his many published works as evidence. It delves into Neutra’s formative years, looking at the influence of his brother, Wilhelm Neutra, the internist Schrötter von Kristelli, Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Wundt, and Hippocrates. Turning then to Neutra’s built works, it looks at the effects of biorealism on three of his commissions: the Lovell Health House, the VDL Research House, and the Kaufmann Desert House. Each house demonstrates biorealistic design in its own way. Finally, this work scrutinizes why the literature on Neutra has been virtually void of a discussion of biorealism, and why scholars have largely overlooked this important aspect of his work. A following chapter analyzes the current and past literature on Neutra as they relate to biorealism.