Architect: Richard Neutra
Year of completion: 1963
Location: Rancho Mirage, CA, USA
Latest update 4 December 2020
Image source: Mapping and Touring Through Photography: On Julius Shulman's Photographic Space of Maslon House.
The iconic Maslon House was a mid-century modern house designed by the architect Richard Neutra in 1962 for the art collectors Samuel and Luella Maslon in Rancho Mirage, California. It was suddenly demolished by the new owner in 2002. The house was situated within the Tamarisk Country Club golf course. The house also held the Maslon's collection of modern art; the couple wanted Neutra to design them a house that combined their ideas with those of Frank Lloyd Wright.
LA Times, 25 March 2017.
Analyze this: A new work will delve into the infamous destruction of Neutra’s Maslon house
Virtual Tour of Neutra’s 1962 Maslon Residence
Uploaded by PS ModCom, 7 October 2018
Architect Richard Neutra’s iconic 1962 Maslon House was suddenly demolished by the new owner in 2002. Now, experience this lost Rancho Mirage masterpiece in virtual 3D. Be sure to enlarge the YouTube video for a full-screen effect.
In New York Times, Brad Dunning wrote of the house that "Seldom was a home afforded such a perfect site. The Maslons' house was surrounded on all sides by the unworldly green expanse of round-the-clock irrigated turf, isolated like an architectural model and spared the indignity of rubbing elbows with lesser creations... This was Neutra with deep pockets on a breath-taking site with luxurious appointments. Its soaring, exaggerated (even for Neutra) flat-roof overhangs protected the artwork within from the harsh desert sun. Ingenious built-ins camouflaged resort necessities, like barbecues, charcoal bins and steam trays. Posh living on the links."
Sale and demolition
Following Luella Maslon's death in 2002, the house was sold for $2.45 million through Sotheby's, who also later held an auction of the Maslon's art collection. For unknown reasons, Luella resisted placing the house on the National Register of Historic Places, or incorporating restrictions into its title. The Maslon heirs sold it to Richard J. Rotenberg in 2002 on the promise he would preserve it. The new owner applied for a demolition permit, which was approved by the city of Rancho Mirage; the house was demolished within a week, touching off great controversy among historic preservationists in Southern California -- as the house was in pristine condition. Following the house's demolition, the listing agent for the sale described herself as "Devastated, absolutely devastated, and embarrassed to have been any part of it". Brad Dunning, writing in the New York Times reported that Rancho Mirage's city manager "...said he had no idea who the architect was or what the house represented". The chairman of the preservation group, the Palm Springs Modern Committee, Peter Moruzzi, said that the house was "without a doubt the most significant piece of architecture in Rancho Mirage, and now it is gone". The building was replaced by the house which Neutra's son Dion photographed in 2008