Santiago Borja, Fort Da Sampler, installation view, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences, 2010, Los Angeles. Photo: Santiago Borja.
Faced with the challenge of maintaining historic homes, several house museum directors have chosen to invite artists to generate new meanings and interpretations of the buildings that they manage. These collaborations with artists point to alternative preservation strategies, which move away from the conservation of historic homes as static objects and instead affirm the importance of human occupation and transformation. This conference invites house curators, artists, and critics involved in recent art interventions to discuss new directions for the preservation and the maintenance of house museums. Taking place in Richard Neutra's VDL House, Rudolph Schindler's Kings Road House, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, themselves the sites of several recent installations, this conference stimulates debate on this topic within some of Los Angeles' most important modernist landmarks.
Sarah Lorenzen is a registered architect, associate professor, and chair of the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona. Since 2007 she has been the resident director of the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences. In 2004 Lorenzen cofounded multimedia design firm Plasmatic Concepts with partner David Hartwell. Their design practice emphasizes the use of creative communication devices to engage the public on issues related to the built environment. In 2011–12 Lorenzen spent her sabbatical leave to conduct research at TU Delft in the Netherlands. Lorenzen grew up in Mexico City and moved to the US to attend college. She did her undergraduate work at Smith College and at the Atlanta College of Art, and received a master's of architecture degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and a second master's in metropolitan research and design at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.
Bryony Roberts is an architectural designer and principal of the research and design practice Bryony Roberts Studio. Roberts earned her BA from Yale University and her MArch from Princeton University. After working in the offices of WORKac in New York and Mansilla + Tunon in Madrid, she started her own practice focusing on interventions into existing architecture. She was recently awarded a Graham Foundation Grant for the installation Inverting Neutra at the Neutra VDL House, and an Initiatives for Houston Grant to design transformations to existing towers in downtown Houston. In addition to design projects, Roberts guest-edited the architectural journal Log on the topic "New Ancients", and has published her writing in Log, Architectural Record, and Pidgin. She previously taught as a Wortham Teaching Fellow at the Rice School of Architecture, SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, and at the Oslo School of Architecture in Norway. She is currently living in Italy as a fellow of the American Academy in Rome.
The primary mission of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona with respect to VDL is to use the house as an educational resource for ENV students and faculty, to preserve and maintain the property, and to host cultural programs that will strengthen the facility's mission as a community resource.