LOS ALTOS, CA
THE JACQUELINE JOHNSON/
RELOCATION OF HISTORIC RESOURCE AND
In 1939 Jacqueline Johnson, a poet and single woman at the time, joined her friend Clayton Stafford and his wife in purchasing a half-acre property located on Marvin Avenue. Stafford, who was also a gifted poet, commissioned Neutra to design their houses, which were three individual structures all placed on the same parcel of land. It is assumed the choice for this communal living arrangement was partly for reasons of economy; however, there is little doubt that these artists who lived together valued Modernism and the avant-garde over more established conventions and wanted their lifestyles to reflect these values.
We became involved early on in the project’s development, beginning as part of the citizen’s ad hoc advisory committee organized by the city. We were instrumental in the initial archival research into the original property owners; we also assisted the Los Altos Community Foundation with their early public outreach to spare this important historical structure from certain demolition and prepared various feasibility studies to secure its permanent building site. In addition, we became the historic architect responsible for the original drawings and specifications for the project’s adaptive reuse. We oversaw the selective disassembling of the building, the loading and transporting of the building’s sections to its permanent site, and the final reassembly and reconstruction efforts.