Chuey Residence | Los Angeles Conservancy
Chuey Residence, as photographed by Julius Shulman. Courtesy of J.Paul Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Chuey Residence

This masterwork of Modern residential architecture was designed by master architect Richard Neutra and built between 1956 and 1957.

Perched on a ridge at the top of Sunset Plaza Drive, the home was commissioned by the noted poet Josephine Ain Chuey and painter Robert Chuey.

The Chueys carefully analyzed the two-and-a-half-acre site with Neutra to determine the precise orientation for the 1,896-square-foot house.

The home's floor-to-ceiling glazing provides unobstructed views of Sunset Plaza Canyon and the Los Angeles basin to the south. An expansive deck appears to float over the hillside.

The design of the house encouraged a lively social life, with the living room serving as a focal point. Robert Chuey’s studio is another dramatic space, with a  ten-foot-high ceiling.

The home served as an intellectual and cultural gathering place for years as the setting for parties, poetry readings, and the showing of Chuey’s paintings.

It was also here that Josephine, as an early follower of the psychologist Timothy Leary, participated in LSD experiments.

The house bears the hallmarks of the International Style, with smooth, stucco surfaces; wide roof overhangs that accentuate the home’s strong horizontal lines; expansive use of glass; and living spaces that graciously extend to the outdoors.

Trademarks of Neutra’s International Style residences include a pair of reflecting pools that frame the living room and deck to the east, and the extended beam “spiderleg.”

As an internationally renowned master architect, Richard Neutra helped develop California Modernism and was an immense influence on American designers. His surviving works are highly regarded and considered some of the most significant of the twentieth century.

Many of his commissions, including the Chuey Residence, perfectly meld the interior and exterior of a space such that it would, as Neutra stated, “place man in relationship with nature; that’s where he developed and where he feels most at home.”

In 1949, Neutra was featured on the cover of Time magazine. He was one of the few architects to ever achieve this level of notoriety and recognition so early on for his then-and-emerging architectural legacy.

Photo by Michael Smith on Flickr

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