A sneak peek at
Lovell Health House
Used to perfectly set the scene in the 1997 film LA Confidential, Lovell House has immense wow factor. Built for Dr (of Naturopathy) Philip Lovell by Richard Neutra, it is the living embodiment of Lovell’s mantra about ‘Care of the Body’ and Corbusier’s the house as a machine for living. Naturopathy may long have fallen out of vogue as an alternative medicinal system but Dr Lovell’s house retains its class, style and power.
The house featured in Philip Johnson’s and Henry Russell-Hitchcock’s International Style: Architecture since 1922, the groundbreaking 1932 MoMA New York exhibition.
Here the house is photographed by LA based Architecture Preservation Designer Ryan Soniat, who specialises in ‘the minutiae of modernist houses’. Unexpectedly the house came up for sale in 2020 and for a brief period there was the opportunity to see it in its full glory. Ryan grabbed that moment and we are all the beneficiaries.
Rather than a shrine to modernism, a sacred cow with pristine unmarked white walls, it is clearly a real home that real people lived in – actually two generations of the Topper family who bought the house in 1961 for $60,000. Aside from Julius Shulman’s iconic photos of the ‘health house’ who knows when we’ll get another opportunity to peak inside.
The house and the City of Los Angeles and their place in the development of alternative lifestyle and therapies figures in Sunseekers, the cure for California. What is clear is that it is not by chance that Richard Neutra and Rudolf Schindler found more than the bricks and mortar, their spiritual home is in California.
Dundee Drive, Los Feliz
Architect Richard Neutra 1927-1929
All images the Copyright of Ryan Soniat ©
Find Ryan on instagram @ryansoniat