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ARCHITECTURE CORNER

LA’s Architectural Gems – Frank Lloyd Wright

In celebration of the announcement of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in East Hollywood becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, LA’s first, we explore the city’s architectural gems in a series of blogs, starting with a few of the architect’s works in our own backyard.

Photo by Joshua White

The Hollyhock House, built between 1919 and 1921, was Wright’s first LA project, commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall and designed to be the centerpiece of an artists’ colony. Wright referred to his design as ‘California Romanza’ and incorporated Barnsdall’s favorite flower, the hollyhock, into the design. Wright’s use of concrete patterned blocks would appear in his four other LA homes: the Millard, Freeman, Storer and Ennis residences. The complex was never completed due to creative differences between Barnsdall and Wright and the building was donated to the city in 1927. The House is open to the public four days a week. For more information and how to visit, click here.

Photo by Mary E. Nichols, courtesy Hilton & Hyland

You may recognize the Ennis House, perhaps the most famous of Wright’s LA homes. It has been featured in numerous films, tv shows and commercials such as Blade Runner, The House on Haunted Hill and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son Lloyd in 1924, for retailer Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel, the Mayan Revival-inspired home was constructed from over 27,000 hand-made concrete blocks using decomposed granite from the site. The Los Feliz residence was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 but eventually fell into disrepair after deferred maintenance, the Northridge earthquake in 1995 and record rainfall in 2005. Purchased and restored by billionaire Ron Burke, the house is currently listed for $23 million.

Photo by Betsy Malloy

The Anderton Court Shops on Rodeo Drive are a little-known Wright design. Built in 1952, it is his only retail space in southern California and consisted of four shops across two floors and a penthouse apartment. Entrance to the shops is off an angular ramp upwards, in parallelograms, around a central wall, open wall. The original facade was a pale yellow-brown color with oxidized copper-colored fiberglass trim. Today it is painted white with additional retail units, signage and a canopy. There are no organized tours of the complex but the shops are easily accessible.