The Lovell Health House is internationally recognized as one of the most significant examples of Modernist architecture.
For the Lovell House, Richard Neutra adopted a technology used to build skyscrapers that he learnt in New York and Chicago; this was the first American house built using this method.
The site of the Lovell House was so impervious that Neutra had to invent a completely new building process. Attached to a steel grid, Neutra placed metal floors and floating decks, the terraces were also partially hanging by the decks. This revolutionary system allowed him to finish the framing in 40 working hours. The foundation also supported the pool in a steel and concrete cradle that reduced the number of labor-intensive footings needed.
The 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 continues 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 hug the hill from the southern side. Placing it perpendicular to the hill granted an amazing panorama from all angles. Neutra also included a relaxation and exercise area with porches, for resting and eating.
The Lovells firmly complained about Neutra’s decision to locate the bedroom facing southwest (more exposed to the sun but with a better view), That they considered too warm, and the connection between the private rooms, in their opinion, awkward.
The Lovells are remembered as patron of the Mid-century architecture. They first hired Rudolph Schindler, a family friend, to design their beach house in Newport and then Neutra to design Lovell’s office downtown in Los Angeles. It’s still not clear why they didn’t chose Schindler for this residence. Probably they considered Neutra’s ‘airy’ approach to architecture more suitable for this projects.
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.