kettal brings back the VDL penthouse, a masterpiece by richard neutra

kettal brings back the VDL penthouse, a masterpiece by richard neutra

kettal introduces the VDL penthouse, re-interpreting the penthouse in richard neutra’s canonical ‘VDL research house‘ built in 1963. under the supervision of dion neutra, richard’s son, kettal has updated the construction methods and materials while respecting all of the house’s original details.

kettal VDL penthouse

all photos courtesy of kettal unless noted otherwise



 VDL penthouse measures 12×4 m and conserves the building’s original interior layout, as well as a version with a completely transparent interior. an automated smart home system has been designed and incorporated into the building that controls the lighting, air conditioning and heating.

richard neutra @ VDL research house II. photo: julius shulman



richard neutra’s VDL house embodies his design philosophy of ‘biorealism’, denoting the relationship between architecture and health. neutra stated “the box is opened fully by sliding doors, so that the actual rooms of the house are the garden spaces. this house, in its free relation to the ground, the trees and the sea, is in constant proximity to the entirety of nature. it acts as a guide and a ‘shock absorber’, providing a well-needed relaxation space away from the complications of daily life.”


dion and richard neutra

VDL research house II models

VDL drawings

kettal VDL pavilion

kettal VDL pavilion (louvers)

kettal VDL pavilion (skylight)

kettal VDL penthouse lake view

kettal VDL penthouse indoor

kettal VDL penthouse

kettal VDL pavilion front view



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: cristina gomez | designboom

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