Aline Barnsdall “Hollyhock House” (1917), Los Angeles, California


Hollyhock House is named for its ornamental forms and suggests a Mayan temple. It was built for Aline Barnsdall, a wealthy heiress and founder of an experimental theater company. Constructed between 1919 and 1921 on a 36-acre site on Olive Hill, Hollyhock House is the main residence in a complex of buildings designed by Wright that included a theater, townhouses, a director’s residence, an artists residence, a kindergarten, shops, and a cinema. Because of financial and artistic differences, however, only Hollyhock House and two secondary residences were actually built.

The house is constructed of hollow clay tile with stucco surfacing on a foundation of concrete and brick; the ornament is concrete or cast stone, as it was known. Hollyhock House and 10 acres of Olive Hill were given to the City of Los Angeles in 1927 for use as a public art park in memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall. The buildings were restored by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son Lloyd Wright and his grandson, Eric Wright, in the 1970s. At the time of our visit in 2013, the buildings were undergoing another restoration; thus, access was limited, and photography was difficult.

 
Location: 4808 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Hollyhock House is now open for self-guided tours from Thursday thru Sunday, between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. There is an admission fee, and photography is not permitted.


Sources:
William Allin Storrer, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (1995), #208.
Thomas A. Heinz, Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide (2005), pp. 56-58.
Barnsdall Art Park Foundation, “Hollyhock House,” http://www.barnsdall.org/visit/hollyhock-house/.