In addition to the splendor of College Football games this fall and reams of indulgent food along the way, another interesting sub thread to our travels has been the pursuit of great architecture.My architectural passion still burns strong, and with little effort we have been able to experience a few prominent examples of great American works of architecture.L.A. presented us with another such opportunity.
Nestled within the vast sprawl of Los Angeles lies an unassuming architectural jewel seemingly overlooked by many L.A. denizens.While most people looking for great works of architecture in the city would opt for wider publicized landmarks such as Richard Meier’s GettyCenter or Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall, a less obtrusive example lies tucked into an old olive grove in East Hollywood.Built in 1921 for Aline Barnsdall is the renowned “Hollyhock House” designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright.Hollyhock is easily Wright’s most acclaimed west coast structure, and we obliged for a visit.
Like all Wright houses, Hollyhock has required extensive maintenance and restoration in order to keep it stable.From the beginning the house leaked considerably, and Barnsdall promptly donated the structure to the City of Los Angeles shortly after construction.The restorations continue to this day, but Hollyhock is mostly restored and open for tours.
That said, Hollyhock is still an exquisite showcase of Wright developing his own unique Southern California style, and draws cues from Mayan influence.We see many of the hallmarks of a Wright house at work here, including the sprawling floor plan and tensive connection between indoor and outdoor living separation.The spectacular living room is a breathtaking space highlighted by the moated fireplace, monolithic mantelpiece and replete with original Wright designed furniture.Finally, the inspirational “Hollyhock” stylized pattern permeating the design is an exquisite example of Wright’s excruciating attention to detail, and probably one of his most famous decorations.
One of the unfortunate regulations at the Hollyhock House is that interior photography is prohibited.I have encountered this inane practice before at some other Wright houses, and sadly that same misguided logic is at play here as well.So I apologize for the lack of interior shots, please be sure to write your Congressman.
Special thanks to my sister Rebecca for making the trek up to L.A. and chauffeuring us around for the better part of the weekend.It was great to have you along on a handful of activities and hopefully you’ve recovered from some of the food your brother subjected you to.
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