Frank Lloyd Wright Fans Celebrate Hollyhock House Facelift
In typical Hollywood fashion, the Feb. 13 reopening had a dramatic twist; thousands of fans toured the house for 24 hours straight free of charge, viewing the residence at dawn's early light and at other times when the city-owned structure usually would be closed to visitors. Some people even camped out overnight to be among the first to glimpse the renovation when the iconic home's 250-pound concrete front doors opened at 4 p.m.
"It's like, when are you ever going to see it at night?" Jennifer Wong, an architectural designer from Laguna Beach told the Los Angeles Times. "You get to see it as if you lived there."
Hollyhock House, commissioned in 1919 for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, is now the heart of East Hollywood's Barnsdall Art Park, which overlooks Griffith Observatory -- another fabulous L.A. sight, particularly at sunset. The Hollyhock House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007 and is considered the prototype of California modernism. Ongoing self-guided tours cost $7 for adults and are available Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., with the last entry at 3:15 p.m.
Hollyhock House was Wright's second project in California, although his son, Lloyd Wright and assistant Rudolph Schindler took over most design duties when the elder Wright was away working on the Imperial Hotel in Japan. (See more stories about Frank Lloyd Wright's work here.)
The newly reopened Los Angeles house, with a hollyhock flower central motif, is arranged around a courtyard and features a series of split levels, steps and terraces, leaded glass windows and even a moat.
The house has seen some rocky times over the years, in addition to the 1994 earthquake that damaged its structure. Barnsdall fired Wright in 1921 when the project far exceeded its budget. Reportedly disillusioned with the costs, she donated the house to Los Angeles in 1927. Since then it has been used as the California Art Club headquarters, an art gallery, and as a United Service Organizations (USO) facility.
The latest restoration reportedly fixed a leaky roof and clogged drains, enlarged windows to add light, and restored original details and wall colors that were changed over the years. While we're on the Wright real estate path, the West Hollywood Lloyd Wright Studio and Residence designed by the architect's son Lloyd Wright has been sold for $1.95 million. The concrete block and stucco house, reminiscent of Hollyhock House in places, has upstairs living quarters and a downstairs studio workspace.