The John Rados Residence, 1957 :: Richard Neutra, FAIA
Fifty years after his family fled the Austro-Hungarian Empire, prolific shipbuilder John Rados purchased a large, hillside lot overlooking the Port of Los Angeles and his beloved company, Harbor Boat Building. For Rados, Neutra’s designs embodied postwar unpretentiousness, technological advances, and adaptability to a newly redefined world. Massive mahogany marine-grade wood beams, terrazzo floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors define the character of the immense space. Located at the end of a long, private driveway, the unassuming façade of the Rados House hides its greatest secret: it is one of the largest Neutra-designed houses in the United States. Beyond the stone wall and slatted wood siding, over 4,000 square feet of living space have been carefully carved into the hillside. Three bedrooms, four bathrooms, living room, television room, two dining rooms, and a downstairs family room with a full bar add to the laissez-faire informalities of the idealized postwar housing experience. Multiple points access the oversized swimming pool and broad deck including an early, somewhat whimsical, exercise in adaptive reuse: a repurposed porthole window and door appropriated from a ship Rados' company was building. The hillside setting captures a 270 degree view of the entire Los Angeles basin with vistas of the San Gabriel and San Jacinto Mountains as well as Dana Point appearing in the foreground.