It's the last day of NEUTRA WEEK, so today I'll leave you with a little eye candy/history before the weekend officially begins. The Lovell House (you may remember it from the movie L.A. Confidential or Mike Mills' Beginners) is another white machine rising from the lush green hills of California. It was the house that made Richard Neutra's career, and I hope it will make your weekend.
Designed between 1927 and 1929, the Lovell House embodies the International Style with its lightweight structural system, modern materials, and streamlined aesthetic. Neutra developed the residence for Philip Lovell, physician, naturopath, columnist, and all-around health nut, to serve as the physical embodiment of Lovell's calisthenic lifestyle. Clinging romantically to the side of a cliff, the austere, white house derives its form from its skeleton steel frame, which creates a dramatically suspended composition, not to mention panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Like his Kaufmann House discussed on Monday, Neutra looks to Frank Lloyd Wright's brand of organic modernism and Le Corbusier's machine-made formalism to create something uniquely suited to the site and his client.
It's no coincidence that the residence, often called the Lovell Health House, directly reflected Dr. Lovell's active lifestyle in its open floor plan, modulation of sunlight, and relationship to nature. It contained an open-air fitness area, rooms for outdoor sleeping and sunbathing, and ribbons of windows, which allowed sunlight to flow into the interior space. In Neutra's exhaustive attention to Dr. Lovell's psyche, behaviors, and motivations, the Lovell House acted as a straightforward expression of the client's psychology, a theme that would continue throughout the rest of the architect's career.
As one of the earliest examples of the International Style in the United States (and arguably the first residence to use a steel structural system), the Lovell House gave rise to Neutra's career and introduced the idea that architecture could improve the physical health and psychological wellbeing of its occupants. Today, the Lovell House is listed on the National Register for Historic Places and remains a major moment in architectural history.
That about does it for NEUTRA WEEK. But don't worry- you'll definitely see more Neutra again soon. Until then, have a great weekend.
This architectural historian cannot stop thinking about buildings, food, and that vintage rug she found online.