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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House reopens after five-year closure


June 22, 2005
by Canadian Architect

After five years of extensive Northridge earthquake damage repairs and mould, hazardous material, and termite mitigation, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs has reopened Hollyhock House, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who is considered by many a master builder, modernist rebel, devout worshipper of nature, and admirer of indigenous cultures. Hollyhock House is one of only six extant Wright-designed buildings in Los Angeles. The House was his first Los Angeles project, and it represents Wright’s earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California. Wright himself referred to this style as California Romanza, using the musical term meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.” The House was donated to the City of Los Angeles in 1927 by Aline Barnsdall, and since 1976, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs has operated it as a house museum.

Hollyhock House opened with docent-led tours on Wednesday, June 8, 2005, a day which also marked Wright’s 138th birthday. The Grand Opening of Hollyhock House will be held Wednesday, July 13, 2005, at which time the final elements of the House’s current restorations will be in place.

The site history and timeline for the Hollyhock House is as follows:

1919: Olive Hill purchased by Aline Barnsdall
1919-1921: Hollyhock House, Residence A and Residence B constructed
1927: Hollyhock House and Residence A (now Barnsdall Arts Center) donated to the City of Los Angeles
1927-1942: California Art Club used Hollyhock House as its headquarters
1942-46: Hollyhock House vacant
1946: Major rehabilitation financed by Dorothy Clune Murray, as part of her agreement to lease the House for use as headquarters of the Clune Memorial Foundation
1954: Temporary Municipal Art Gallery designed by Wright was constructed, incorporating garage and animal pens
1958: Murray’s ten-year lease expired and was not renewed
1969: Temporary Municipal Art Gallery demolished to make room for the new permanent Municipal Art Gallery
1974: Major House restoration financed by the City of Los Angeles
1976: Hollyhock House opened as a house museum with tours given by Las Angelitas
1978: Historic Site Curator hired and Department of Cultural Affairs began interiors restoration project; Support group, Friends of Hollyhock House, established to give House tours
1990: Re-creation of Wright-designed living room furniture and paint scheme completed
1994: House sustained significant damage during the Northridge Earthquake
2000: Barnsdall Park closed for the implementation of a Master Plan; Hollyhock House and surrounding Wright-designed structures underwent earthquake repairs and seismic strengthening
2003: Barnsdall Park reopened; Hollyhock House remained closed to the public
2005: Hollyhock House reopened to the public as a house museum



Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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