Lovell House
Discussion Lovell House Commentary

"The Lovell house... had in Los Angeles in 1929 an importance comparable to the early iron or steel and glass exhibition buildings in Europe, and indeed it was through this house that Los Angeles archtiecture first became widely known in Europe. Brilliant as the structure was in conception, it is doubtful whether it could have been executed without Neutra's familiartiy with the methods of contractors and sub-contractors...

"The open-web skeleton, in which standard triple steel casements were integrated, was fabricated in sections and transported by truck to the steep hillside site, and the lightweight bar joists of floors and ceilings were electrically welded in the shop. The shop work was held to a decimal tolerance to avoid the costliness of changes during assembly on the site, and as a result the skeleton was erected in forty hourstoo fast to photograph the various stages of construction.

The balconies, usually called cantilevered, are instead suspended by slender steel cables from the roof frame. This use of members in suspension, and also the U-shaped reinforced thin concrete cradle in which the pool was suspended, created a stir in architectural circles.

The walls of the house are of thin concrete, shop from two-hundred-foot-long hoses, against expanded metal, which was backed by insulation panels as forms..."

Esther McCoy. Richard Neutra. p13-14.

The Creator's Words

"This call for caution and responsibility is heard by voters and shareholders, and by journalists and critics, who are paying more attention than ever before to architectural, city-planning, and environmental issues. They are inclined to pounce on any clear indication that a new building or development, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, may jeopardize the health, safety, or peace of mind of the people using it or living nearby. If it looks as though human vitality is going to be weakened by some short-sighted building or plan, the resulting news and ensuing debate is going to get back to those to whom the client is accountable. This is no different than if some businessman or bureaucrat had callously proposed digging one hole for both a septic tank and a well just because one hole is provably cheaper and faster than digging two."

Richard Neutra. from William Marlin, ed. Nature Near: late essays of Richard Neutra. p18, 19.

Sources on Lovell House

Edward R. Ford. The Details of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. ISBN 0-262-06121-X. LC 89-31772. NA2840.F67 1989. exterior photos, construction section/anonmetric details, p286-287. drawing of column and wall details, p286.   Highly recommended for serious observers, and available at

Peter Gossel and Gabriele Leuthauser. Architecture in the Twentieth Century. Germany: Benedikt Taschen Verlag, 1991. ISBN 3-8228-0550-5. exterior color photo, plan drawing, p191.

Paul Heyer. American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-01328-0. LC 92-18415. NA2750.H48. exterior photo, p105.

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. exterior photo, f271, p336. An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition Available at

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5. Available at

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