Hollyhock House

Coordinates: 34°06′00″N 118°17′40″W / 34.10000°N 118.29444°W / 34.10000; -118.29444
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Hollyhock House
The Hollyhock House
Location4800 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, United States
Coordinates34°06′00″N 118°17′40″W / 34.10000°N 118.29444°W / 34.10000; -118.29444
ArchitectFrank Lloyd Wright
Architectural style(s)Mayan Revival architecture
Governing bodyLocal
CriteriaCultural: (ii)
Designated2019 (43rd session)
Part ofThe 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright
Reference no.1496-004
RegionEurope and North America
Official nameAline Barnsdall Complex
DesignatedMay 6, 1971[1]
Reference no.71000143
Official nameAline Barnsdall Complex
DesignatedApril 4, 2007[2]
DesignatedApril 1, 1963[3]
Reference no.12
Hollyhock House is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Hollyhock House
Location of Hollyhock House in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Hollyhock House is located in California
Hollyhock House
Hollyhock House (California)
Hollyhock House is located in the United States
Hollyhock House
Hollyhock House (the United States)

The Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright originally as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall (built, 1919–1921). The building is now the centerpiece of the city's Barnsdall Art Park. In July 2019, along with seven other buildings designed by Wright in the 20th century, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is the first time modern American architecture has been recognized on the World Heritage List.[4] The Hollyhock House is noted for developing an influential architectural aesthetic, which combined indoor and outdoor living spaces.[5]


Aline Barnsdall originally intended the house to be part of an arts and live-theater complex on a property known as Olive Hill, but the larger project was never completed.[6] This was Wright's second project in California (the first one being the George C. Stewart House, 1909, in Montecito). Atypically for Wright, he was not able to personally supervise much of the construction due to his preoccupation with designing the Imperial Hotel in Japan at the time. He delegated many of the responsibilities involved in completing the house to his assistant, Rudolph Schindler, and his son, Lloyd Wright. The elder Wright was fired from the project in 1921 due to cost overages on the project.[7]

Disillusioned by the costs of construction and maintenance, Barnsdall donated the house to the city of Los Angeles in 1927[8] under the stipulation that a fifteen-year lease be given to the California Art Club for its headquarters. The club was there until 1942 when the house was almost demolished.[9] The house has been used as an art gallery and as a United Service Organizations (USO) facility over the years. Beginning in 1974, the city sponsored a series of restorations, but the structure was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was again restored.

The U.S. Department of the Interior designated Hollyhock House a National Historic Landmark in 2007.[10] It was the seventh site in the city of Los Angeles to receive that designation. The house was included in a list of all time "top ten" Los Angeles houses in a Los Angeles Times survey of experts in December 2008.[11]

Lighted pool and long lines at the re-opening, 2015

In 2005, Project Restore, a non-profit organization dedicated "to the historic restoration and preservation of the civic integrity of the City of Los Angeles," initiated a 10-year restoration project.[12] The restoration included work on the building's floor, wood, doors, windows, art stone, and plaster. In January 2015 it was announced that, following the extensive renovations, the house would once again open for tours on 13 February.[13] The 24-hour event drew large crowds through the night, with many waiting in line for over three hours for admittance.[14]

In 2015, the National Park Service submitted the Hollyhock House along with nine other Frank Lloyd Wright properties to a tentative list for designation as a World Heritage Site.[15] Revised proposals were submitted in 2018.[16] Eight properties were ultimately inscribed on the World Heritage List as part of a submission called "The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright" in July 2019.[5][17] When Hollyhock House together with the seven other buildings in the U.S. were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, it was the first time that modern American architecture had been recognized by that organization.[4][18][19]


Southwest terrace detail with abstracted Hollyhock blossom reliefs.

As with many of Wright's residences, Hollyhock House has an "introverted" exterior with windows that seem hidden from the outside, and is not easy to decode from the outside. The house is arranged around a central courtyard with one side open to form a kind of theatrical stage (never used as such), and a complex system of split levels, steps and roof terraces around that courtyard. The design features exterior walls that are tilted back at 85 degrees (which helps provide a "Mayan" appearance sometimes referred to as the Mayan Revival style), leaded art glass in the windows, a grand fireplace with a large abstract bas-relief, and a moat. Water is meant to flow from a pool in the courtyard through a tunnel to this inside moat, and out again to a fountain.

The front doors are stepped similarly to the entryway. The split doors rest on pins and swing open easily despite their massive weight. The keyhole is concealed with a decorative flap.

The hollyhock (Aline Barnsdall's favorite flower) is used as a central theme to the house, with many symmetrical decorations adapting the plant's general appearance.[9] Planters are decorated with the motif and filled with the plants themselves, and Wright's stained glass windows feature a highly stylized hollyhock pattern. An interesting feature is the mitered glass corners at the windows; an early idea Wright later used at Fallingwater.

Hollyhock House features an entertainment room immediately to the right of the entrance. This room contains possibly the first built-in entertainment center, complete with LP-sized cabinets along the floor. Other notable rooms include a child's play area as well as a modernist kitchen, which long housed the museum gift shop.

Like many houses designed by Wright, Hollyhock House proved to be better as an aesthetic work than as a livable dwelling. Water tended to flow over the central lawn and into the living room, and the flat roof terraces were conceived without an understanding of Los Angeles's rains. The cantilevered concrete also did not stand up well to the area's earthquakes.

There were a considerable number of revisions. Two smaller structures, called Studio Residences A and B, were built on the grounds. Residence A still stands. Barnsdall also commissioned a private kindergarten which was never built. The property also includes a smaller building designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra.[7]

Use in film production[edit]

The house and grounds were used as the temple of the Piranha Women in 1989's Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death.

Friends of Hollyhock House (FOHH)[edit]

The Friends of Hollyhock House (FOHH) provide an increased public awareness of Frank Lloyd Wright, Aline Barnsdall, and Hollyhock House through public tours, special events, and the Friends of Hollyhock House Library, a small research library containing books and articles on Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall. All docents are members of FOHH.


See also[edit]

  • Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in Hollywood
  • List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles
  • Storer House
  • California Art Club
  • Ennis House
  • List of Frank Lloyd Wright works
  • Storrer, William Allin. The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion. University Of Chicago Press, 2006, ISBN 0-226-77621-2 (S.208)


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "Aline Barnsdall Complex". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on November 14, 2007. Retrieved October 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Department of City Planning. "Designated Historic-Cultural Monuments". City of Los Angeles. Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Kamin, Blair (July 7, 2019). "Column: Why the addition of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings to World Heritage List is a big deal". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on August 9, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  6. ^ Friedman, Alice T. (2006). Women and the Making of the Modern House. Yale University Press. p. 35. ISBN 0300117892.
  7. ^ a b Barragan, Bianca (July 8, 2019). "Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House now a UNESCO World Heritage site". Curbed LA. Archived from the original on September 23, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Marantos, Jeanette (August 3, 2019). "Want to see more of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House? Now you can". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 10, 2019. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Castillo, Andrea (February 23, 2020). "Plaque marks Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House as L.A.'s first UNESCO World Heritage Site". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 23, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  10. ^ "Interior Secretary Kempthorne Designates 12 National Historic Landmarks in 10 States". U.S. Department of the Interior. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2008.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Sean (December 27, 2008). "The best houses of all time in L.A." Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
  12. ^ "About". Project Restore LA. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Boone, Lisa (February 6, 2015). "Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House to reopen". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  14. ^ Lelyveld, Nita (February 14, 2015). "At Hollyhock House, thousands celebrate an architectural treasure". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015.
  15. ^ "New US World Heritage Tentative List". Nps.gov. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  16. ^ "Eight Buildings Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List". Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. December 20, 2018. Archived from the original on June 25, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  17. ^ Forgione, Mary (July 7, 2019). "Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House becomes L.A.'s first UNESCO World Heritage Site". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 10, 2019. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  18. ^ Axelrod, Josh (July 7, 2019). "UNESCO Adds 8 Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings To Its List Of World Heritage Sites". NPR. Archived from the original on May 10, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  19. ^ Kamin, Blair (July 7, 2019). "Column: 8 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including Chicago's Robie House and Oak Park's Unity Temple, named to World Heritage List". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 29, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2019.

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