Thursday, July 7, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright: Aline Barnsdall’s “Hollyhock House,” 1917, Los Angeles (Hollywood) [1]

View from the Barnsdall House and the famous Hollywood sign

Entry (center) and cast concrete block colonnades (details).

North elevation (partial)

West elevation

South elevation (partial)

East elevation (partial) the background indicates major restoration in progress

North elevation (kitchen)

North elevation (dining room)

photographs by versluis 2011

The hollyhock has a central stem that elevates the blossoms and topped with buds. Perhaps this another reason is why hollyhock was chosen as the emblem for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Barnsdall complex (now the Barnsdall Art Park) on “Olive [orchard] Hill.” Obviously the name is a play on words with the Hollywood location.

Regarding the design Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer writes:
The design for Hollyhock House represents a totally new direction in Wright’s work: … sculptural concrete masses, slightly canted or sloped, with flat roof terraces over the entire house. Here at last is architecture in sympathy with the region, not pretending to be anything other than a building that belongs where it is built. Since Barnsdall’s favorite flower was the hollyhock, Wright built the abstractions of the plant into the decorative elements of her home, which she had already named “Hollyhock House.” Running bands of these “flowers” adorn the concrete parapets, colonnades, and planters, as well as appearing on the backs of the house’s specially designed chairs. … [2]
  1. Larkin, David, and Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks, eds. Frank Lloyd Wright The Masterworks. By Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer. New York: Rizzoli and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, 1993. 126. Print.
  2. Ibid, 132-33.

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