Richard Neutra's "Windshield" House Model

It was a sort of 'homecoming' for the model of Richard Neutra's Windshield house, transported on November 18, 2020 from the RISD Archive to the Nightingale-Brown House, where it will be displayed in the second floor hallway.

The model was created by Justin Minda in 2001 for an exhibition about the house on Fishers Island, which had been commissioned by John Nicholas Brown from the famous Californian (and Vienna born) modernist Richard Neutra in 1936. (The exhibition opened at the Harvard Art Museum, then came to RISD with additional stops in Washington DC and Pittsburgh.) Voluminous correspondence and several mutual visits between John Nicholas Brown II and Richard Neutra ensued in the lead up to the enormous house, which was one of the first modern buildings on the East Coast. Finished in the summer of 1938, it was largely destroyed by the famous "Hurricane of 1938" only weeks later. It was rebuilt right away and served the Brown family as a summer house for many years. It was finally consumed by a fire in 1973.

Since his days as a student at Harvard, John Nicholas Brown had a life-long fascination with architecture, commissioning a Gothic chapel for his boarding school in Newport (designed by Ralph Adams Cram in Middletown, RI) and oversaw much building activity on Brown's campus as chair of the University's Campus Planning Committee (in particular commissioning two buildings from Philip Johnson). He was also a co-founder of the Providence Preservation Society and substantially remodeled the 1792 Nightingale Brown House in the 1920s and 1930s, now the JNBC. 

See a slide show that documents the move of the model from RISD to JNBC. (Photo credit: Dietrich Neumann and Ron Potvin)