Following a multimillion-dollar restoration, Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, an iconic architectural masterpiece in the heart of Barnsdall Park, celebrated its official reopening on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. To mark the occasion, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell participated in an official ribbon cutting ceremony with the project's collaborators at the Hollyhock House. Following the ceremony, for one night only, the City of Los Angeles and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation opened Hollyhock House for self-guided tours for 24 hours, from 4 p.m. on Feb. 13 until 4 p.m. on Feb. 14.
A significant part of L.A.’s storied architectural history, Hollyhock House (built 1919-21) marked Frank Lloyd Wright's first architectural project in Los Angeles. Hollyhock House boasts a lyrical and poetic style of architecture known as "California Romanza" (from the musical term meaning "freedom to make one's own form"), which complements L.A.'s significance as a trendsetter in the arts and architecture.
Hollyhock House was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #12 in 1963, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007. Underscoring its importance as one of the world's architectural gems, Hollyhock House is now on the tentative list of the first modern architecture nominations from the United States to the United Nation's Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
"Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House is a crown jewel of Los Angeles architecture," said Mayor Garcetti. "Restoring this landmark to its original glory is a great example of how the city can preserve its unique history while providing Angelenos access to art in everyday places."
“It's a fabulous, exotic and quirky house - not a conventional home in the least,” said Hollyhock House curator Jeffrey Herr. “It also happens to be an important architectural icon because its design is unique and was the impetus for a whole new design for living.”
When asked which room or design element of Hollyhock House has been the most popular with visitors, Herr replied, “Historically it is the living room with the monumental bas-relief over the fireplace and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed furniture. That seems to be changing in favor of the library.”
Herr said his favorite area of Hollyhock House is the colonnade along the north side of the inner courtyard. “It's lovely in the afternoon with the sunlight streaming through the columns and equally beautiful at night with the restored lighting.”
With so many interesting details throughout the house, there are bound to be a few hidden gems. Herr said, “I think most people forget to look up and consequently miss the exquisitely crafted ceiling mouldings in the loggia.”
And the idea to open Hollyhock House for 24 hours? “It was my husband's idea. He's a crazy genius,” said Herr. “It may be a first for a house museum, but I don't know for certain.”
Rather than highlighting a particular aspect of the restoration for visitors to seek out, Herr said, “Perhaps it is what visitors will not notice that is most important. Our goal has been to recreate the 1921 appearance without making the re-creation obvious. What visitors will experience is the opportunity to step back in time.”
Hollyhock House features self-guided "Walk Wright In" tours Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pricing is $7 for adults, $3 for students and seniors with I.D., and $3 for children under 12 when accompanied by a paying adult. Special arrangements for docent-led tours, group tours, guided tours and other engagements can be made by calling 323.913.4031.
For more information, visit the Hollyhock House website at www.barnsdall.org/visit/hollyhock-house.