Hollyhock House, exterior. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

On February 13, 2015, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Hollyhock House will reopen to the public. Located in Hollywood’s Barnsdall Art Park, the Hollyhock House was the first Wright-designed residence in Los Angeles. Commissioned by Aline Barnsdall, an eccentric oil heiress, the structure recently underwent a comprehensive conservation that cost $4.35 million to realize.

Built between 1919 and 1921, the Hollyhock House originally served as Barnsdall’s own venue for producing avant-garde plays. It later became a performing arts complex that included Barnsdall’s private home. In 1927, Barnsdall deeded the site and its structures to the city of Los Angeles. The Hollyhock House underwent a major restoration in the mid-1970s and opened as a public museum in 1976. According to a press release from Los Angeles City Councilmember, Mitch O’Farrell, this recent conservation restored the Hollyhock House to its “original splendor. Floors, windows, doors, decorative molding, and long-forgotten paint colors have been recreated with utmost attention to detail."

Interior view of the Hollyhock House, 1921. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

  The Hollyhock House represents Wright’s earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropropriate style of architecture for Southern California. A remarkable combination of house and gardens, each major interior space in the residence adjoins an equivalent exterior space, connected either by glass doors, a porch, pergola, or colonnade. Perched on a thirty-six acre plot known as Olive Hill, the Hollyhock House takes its name from Barnsdall’s favorite flower. At her request, hollyhocks were incorporated into the residence’s interior design, and stylized representations of the flower appear on the roofline, walls, columns planters, and furnishings.

The Hollyhock House was designated as a historical cultural monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1963 and was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 2007. It is currently on a tentative nomination roster for the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Wright, a paragon of modern American architecture, designed commercial buildings, apartment towers, recreational complexes, museums, religious houses, residences, furniture, lighting features, textiles, and art glass. According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, “he redefined our concept of space, offering everyone the opportunity to live and grow in nourishing environments, connected physically and spiritually to the natural world.”