Lanza Atelier

A Table for Hundreds

Apr 15 —
May 15,

Photo by Elizabeth Carababas

Apr 15 —
May 15,

A Table for Hundreds

Opening Reception: Friday, April 15th 4:00pm-7:00pm

In 1950, Richard Neutra and his partner Robert Alexander were presented with the opportunity to design Elysian Park Heights, a 3,400-unit residential complex on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The area designated for this project, Chávez Ravine, consisted of three large neighborhoods, Palo Verde, La Loma, and Bishop, where more than 1,000 Mexican-American families lived. Neutra immediately left to tour the area and interview the neighbors. After visiting many of the existing houses, some with small orchards or neighboring farms, he declared “it is the most beautiful neighborhood in the most charming place that this country can boast.”

The land, initially intended as a residential area, was sold to become the gigantic Dodgers Baseball Stadium and the Neutra & Alexander project was never built. Shortly after, Neutra would write “Neutra’s life, health and supreme achievement of life were broken in this struggle, not just his financial strength.”

In 2021 a journalist interviewed Thelma Huebsch, Neutra’s oldest client still alive. At 102 years old, Mrs. Huebsch remembered “[Neutra] always talked about Chávez Ravine” saying “I was devastated by that.”

On May 8, 1959, the families who had resisted leaving their properties were forcibly evicted by the Los Angeles police. Dozens of people were dragged out of their houses as machines began to demolish them.

The workshop and Installation at the VDL, the house that Richard Neutra and his son Dion built for their family, wants to contribute to preserve the memory of Palo Verde, La Loma and Bishop. The installation will consist of a very long table that focuses on collectivity, the act of gathering and sharing. This table navigates through the house’s interior and garden. With its super-dimensioned length, the table is also a homage to Chavez Ravine 1000 families as if it was designed to accommodate 1000 people at the same time.

The Table for Hundreds will exhibit material related to the Chavez Ravine memory—objects, photos, and stories—that will be inserted in the daily life of the VDL House, thus bringing to this space part of the Chavez Ravine beauty that Neutra appreciated in his visits in the 1950’s.

The VDL Research House is proud to welcome architects Lanza Atelier for a residency this April 2022. Lanza will conduct a research and fabrication workshop with Cal Poly Pomona student docents that will culminate in an exhibition titled, A Table for Hundreds.

LANZA Atelier
Isabel Abascal & Alessandro Arienzo
Team: Henry Peters, Gustavo Peñaloza

In collaboration with Cal Poly Pomona Students:

Carina Joelle Arias, Veronica Arevalo Pena, Monserrat Cardenas, James Cardona, Hannah Doan, Alexander Gonzalez, Leilani Gonzalez, Karla Jaime, Brianna Martinez, Daniela Pomalaza & Duong Tran

This program was made possible with the support of the State Norpell Workshop and Lecture Series. Additional support was provided by Skanska, Inc, Carabetta West.

Watch the lecture online:

Topic: VDL Research House Lanza Atelier Lecture
When: Apr 13, 2022 06:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)