Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Lovett entered the University of Washington program in architecture in 1940, but his college years were interrupted by wartime service. He graduated from the University of Washington with a B.Arch in 1947. While at Washington he was significantly influenced by Professor Lionel Pries. Lovett attended MIT for one year, studying under Alvar Aalto and receiving his M.Arch. in June 1948. He returned to Seattle and after a brief apprenticeship, opened his own practice.
Lovett joined the University of Washington architecture faculty in 1948, as an instructor. He served as an assistant professor, 1951–60; associate professor, 1960–65; and professor, 1965-1984; although he retired in 1984, he continued to teach until about 1990. Lovett was a guest professor at the Technical University in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1959-60. He was a professor emeritus from 1984 until his death.
Lovett was the designer of many significant Pacific Northwest houses. Most important is the house he designed for Charles Simonyi, in Medina, Washington. Begun in 1987, the house has been expanded twice to Lovett's design. The house not only serves as a residence, but is also designed for display of Simonyi's collection of paintings by Victor Vasarely and Roy Lichtenstein.
- Hildebrand, Grant, and Booth, T. William, The Houses of Wendell Lovett & Arne Bystrom, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London 2004
- Photographs of Wendell Lovett's works from the Phyllis and Robert Massar Photograph Collection of Pacific Northwest Architecture - University of Washington Digital Collection