The Lovell House by Richard Neutra

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richard neutra lovell house
richard neutra lovell house
richard neutra lovell house

richard neutra lovell house

richard neutra lovell house
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The Lovell Health House is internationally recognized as one of the most significant examples of Modernist architecture.

For the Lovell House, Richard Neutra chose a technique used to build skyscrapers learnt in New York and Chicago; this would have been the first American house built using this method. But, the site was so impervious that Neutra had to adapt the building process creating a completely new one.

Attached to a steel grid, Neutra placed metal floors and floating decks, the terraces are also partially hanging by the decks. This revolutionary system allowed him to complete the framing in 40 working hours. The foundation also support the pool in a steel and concrete cradle that reduces the number of labor-intensive footings needed.

Visitors enter the house from bridges made of concrete, ending in a small and wood-panelled space that plunges down in to a bright modern living room from a glass-enclosed staircase.

From the living room, the house extends to the swimming-pool at the lowest level, which protrudes on the valley from one side while attached to the house from the other, so that a swimmer can go from the clouds to the reassuring protecting building.

The house is further bounded to the slope by the pergola and garage that hugs the hill from the southern side. Placing it perpendicular to the hill, ensured an amazing view from all angles. Neutra also included a relaxation and exercise area with porches, for resting and eating.

The Lovells are remembered as mid-century architecture patrons, but they were firmly against some structural choices adopted in this project as Neutra’s decision to locate the bedroom facing southwest (more exposed to the sun but with a better view), which they considered too warm, and the connection between the private rooms, in their opinion, awkward.

They first asked Rudolph Schindler, a family friend, to design their beach house in Newport and then Neutra to design Lovell’s office in downtown Los Angeles. It’s still not clear why they  didn’t chose Schindler for this residence. Probably they believed that Neutra’s ‘airy’ approach to architecture was more suitable for the project.

Despite the criticisms raised by his clients, Neutra’s work brought thousands of admirers to the Lovell House, making it a mid-century architecture icon.

Photos by Flickr users Michael Locke and Aadair4


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  1. Please can you find more Kitchen and laundry room’s. I love the appliances and the working parts of the homes.Thank you for all the wonderful photos all the time,great fun to see. James Polcyn

  2. Hey James,

    I will do my best! Thanks for your suggestion…



  3. I enjoyed the article, but wanted to alert you to what I believe is a typo on page 8: the last sentence in the first paragraph (under the photo of the swimming pool) says “Attached to a steel grind Neutra…”, but I believe the word should be “girder” which is the common term for the steel section sometimes referred to as “an I-beam” because the profile of the steel section is shaped like the letter “I”. Just an FYI. I also really enjoyed the b&w images many of which I’ve never seen before. Do you know who took the photographs?

  4. Hi Steven, thank you very much for the thoughtful comment and the explanation of the term “girder”…never heard of it.

    I actually meant the very simple “grid”! 🙂

    How do you know these technical details?

    All the pics are by Julius Shulman

    Thanks again.