The Lovell Health House is internationally recognized as one of the most significative example of mid century architecture.
Richard Neutra designed the house using a technology employed to build skyscrapers that he learnt as draftsman in New York and Chicago; that made the Lovell residence the first American house to be built using this method.
The site of the house was so impervious that Neutra had to create the building process as well.
The visitors enter the house from bridges of concrete that end 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 that protrudes on the valley from one side while attached to the house from the other; so that a swimmer could 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 it granted an amazing panorama from all the angles.
Unfortunately, not all the decisions made by the architect were immediately appreciated by the Lovells that firmly complained about the choice of locating the bedroom to the southwestern -more exposed to the sunlight but with the best view- corner has they considered it too warm.
The Lovells are remembered as patron of the mid century architecture hiring first Rudolph Schindler -a family friend- to design their beach house in Newport and then Neutra to design first Lovell’s office downtown in Los Angeles and then his house.
Today it is still not clear why they did not chose Schindler also for their residence considering that he was a regular contributor of the Lovell’s column on the LA Times about the link between architecture and health. Maybe the more ‘airy’ approach of Neutra to building compared to Schindler’s made a difference.
(The Newport Beach Lovell House)
Neutra also designed a private relaxation -and exercise- area together with porches for resting and eating and a tall cooler to save food for the vegetarian family and a 132cm long aluminium light from the living room to the library that made the room brighter.
Another point of complaint for the Lovells was the weird organization of the private rooms awkwardly connected.
Despite the criticisms of his customers, Neutra’s work brought thousands of people to visit the house turning it into a mid century architecture and international icon. And he deserved all the fame. Acting as contractor of 70 handymen, he was going every day to the site to check every detail.
Attached to a steel grid Neutra placed metal floor and floating decks. Also the terraces were partially hanging by the decks.
The revolutionary construction method used 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.
More Neutra became known for his works more the Lovells became flexible regarding the house peculiar rooms’ arrangement and started calling him a “genius” and the house a “masterpiece” of mid century architecture.
What do you think about the Lovell House? Masterpiece of mid century architecture or museum house? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!