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Male, US, born 1907-06-13

Associated with the firm network

Neutra and Pfisterer

Professional History

Architectural Designer/Associate, Richard J. Neutra, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1933-1940; Pfisterer assisted Richard Neutra with about 18 months work (1939-1940) for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and also the National Youth Administration (NYA); with his experience working for Neutra, and with his recommendation, Pfisterer became an architect and administrator in CA for the NYA by 1940. (The US Census of 04/19/1940 indicated that Pfisterer's occupation was as an architect for the NYA, Planning Division.)

In 1941, Pfisterer was one of 32 contestants awarded prizes in the Museum of Modern Art's Industrial Design Competition for Home Furnishings, aka "Organic Design in Home Furnishing;" he won two awards, one for Honorable Mention in the Category A of "seating for living room," and second, in Category G, "Movable Lighting Equipment," Pfisterer won first prize. This was for a floor lamp with dual repositionable lights. For his lamp, Pfisterer was offered a contract for a manufacturing company to produce it. (See "32 Designers Win Prizes for Homes," New York Times, 02/02/1941, p. 36.) This was the same competition in which architects Charles Eames (1907-1978) and Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) won two first prizes for chair designs, in Category A, Furniture for Living Room," and "Other Furniture for Living Room." MoMA invited Pfisterer to exhibit this 1941 lamp along with his more recent "Ostuni" Lamp, side by side, to underscore how designs had grown more organic and biomorphic in ten years. (See "Exhibit of Design Will Open Today," New York Times, 03/26/1952, p.


Pfisterer attended the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Pfisterer was born in Basel, Switzerland, and attended college at the University of Vienna. Pfisterer sailed from Le Havre, France, 10/01/1930-arriving in New York, NY, about a week later; at this time, his permanent home was in Paris, France, according to the Manifest of Alien Passengers of his ship, the S.S. Paris. He married Flora Aprea a few weeks later. Before immigrating to the US in 1932, he lived in Lucerne, Switzerland. He left Le Havre, France, on approximately 06/30/1932 and arrived in New York, NY, aboard the massive liner Ile de France on 07/06/1932. He remained in NY for about 7 months before relocating to Los Angeles, CA, in 03/1933. From about 07/22/1939-08/18/1939, he visited Mexico, perhaps traveling with Richard Neutra on design work associated with the National Youth Administration (NYA). In 1940, Pfisterer lived with his wife and two sons, Mario and Vincent, in a residence at 2341 Echo Park Avenue, in Los Angeles; they paid $25 per month rent. Pfisterer and his family lived in Brazil for a period c. 1942-1945; he left Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 11/09/1945, and reached Philadelphia, PA, on 11/29/1945. At this time, he listed his permanent residence to have been at 355 South Fulton Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY. The family traveled from Le Havre, France to New York between 04/15/1947-04/27/1947 aboard the S.S. Marine Falcon.

He married Flora Dolores Aprea Pfisterer (born 11/29/1903 in New York, NY) on 10/23/1930 in Mount Vernon, NY.

He and Dolores had five children, three of whom were born in Los Angeles, CA: Adria, (born 07/15/1934), Peter Mario, (born 04/05/1936-2007) and Vincent Ray (born 12/18/1937). (A birth notice for their daughter, Adria, appeared in the Los Angeles Times, 07/19/1934, p. 16. Her name did not appear in the US Census of 1940.) Another son, Toni Francis Pfisterer, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 12/20/1944. Another son was Alban (born 1946), nicknamed "Snoopy," who survived Peter Mario at the latter's death in 09/2007. Peter Mario lived in CA, Brazil, Washington DC, MD, NH, and ID during his lifetime; he died in ID. (See "Pfisterer Family Genealogy Forum,"Accessed 08/22/2012.)

Pfisterer petitioned for naturalization in the Southern District, Central Division, Los Angeles, California, District Court on 11/29/1939. He was naturalized on 03/08/1940, according to the S.S. Marine Falcon's passenger manifest of 04/27/1947. Naturalization documents of 1939 indicated that, at the age of 32, Pfisterer stood 5-feet 7-inches tall, had a light complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes.

Associated Locations

  • Basel, Switzerland (Architect's Birth)
    Basel, Switzerland

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PCAD id: 778