Austrian American Richard Neutra left a remarkable legacy as a top architect of the modernist movement. Neutra contributed his ideas and inspiration to structures, mostly homes in Southern California, that were much copied and remain as icons of the period. He was known for the use of low slope roofs, cantilevers, ribbon windows and butt glazing, intersecting planes of contrasting materials, "spider leg" steel supports, open plazas, and interconnection with the landscape. He was one of the leading proponents of the International Style in America, and one of the founders of the California Modern Style, which grew through his work as well as that of his students in the 1950s and 1960s. Neutra ranks as one of the premier American architects of the twentieth century and is cited as a "master builder" in the National Trust's Master Buildings: A Guide to Famous American Architects.
At Petrified Forest
Neutra was hired by the National Park Service to help usher in a new program meant to enhance visitor services and infrastructure at park sites. Mission 66 was an agency-wide building effort to help parks better handle increased visitor numbers by the NPS 50th anniversary in 1966. The now commonplace concept of the visitor center came from Mission 66, and the Painted Desert Community Complex was one of the agency's most ambitious Mission 66 visitor centers.