They Got It Wright
Renovation photos by Tom Hawkins, Club photographer
New photos by JuanCarlos Chan, Rec and Parks
Back in 2011 and 2012, as Alive! chronicled, Project Restore, Public Works, General Services, Rec and Parks and other departments restored the City’s Hollyhock House, a masterpiece by architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright.
And now that hard, painstaking work has paid off in a big way.
The fully restored Hollyhock House, situated in Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood, has been awarded with one of the world’s most prestigious honors – it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the only one in the City. The house is considered a precursor to the style now called California modernism and was one of eight Frank Lloyd Wright designs so designated in the U.S.
Nearly a decade ago, the City put together a team, lead at the time by Kevin Jew, ProjectManager, Public Works/Project Restore, and Hsiao-Ling Ting, Architect, Public Works/Engineering, to execute the decade-long restoration. Alive! featured the restoration during the renovation’s 2011-12 second phase.
The Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, built from 1919–21. The building is now the centerpiece of the City’s Barnsdall Art Park.
This was Wright’s second project in California, but he was not able to supervise much of the construction due to his commission to design the Imperial Hotel in Japan at the time. He delegated many of the responsibilities involved in designing the house to his assistant, Rudolph Schindler, and his son, Lloyd Wright.
Barnsdall donated the house to the City in 1927. Beginning in 1974, the City sponsored a series of restorations, but the structure was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was again restored, and is currently open to the public. The current restoration is phase two of the long-term restoration project; it’s both repairing damage and undoing earlier restorations that were not done correctly.
The U.S. Department of the Interior designated Hollyhock House a National Historic Landmark in 2007.
Here are some comments the Club received on its Facebook page about the honor:
- “This is my favorite FLW [Frank Lloyd Wright]. So many hidden passageways, vistas and conversation points.” – John Tobin
- “Some of my best City memories.” – Larry Patrich
- “Thank you, Employees Club, for the mention! This has been a long process, and you were there early on to witness the work. Kevin Jew and team have worked tirelessly to get the structure ready for its big debut.” – Project Restore
- “I have many memories of this place, some good, some not so good. Maintaining the plumbing in a facility like this was challenging.” – Sherrie and Brad Torres
The Hollyhock House is open for viewing.
See the details here: https://barnsdall.org/hollyhock-house