Fans of the Prairie style work of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright can once again take in the breathtaking structure and interior of one of the architect’s most significant works in Southern California: Hollyhock House. After five years spent shuttered for restoration, the home located on a Hollywood hilltop opened to a throng of architectural buffs and art revelers on Friday, February 13.
At four o’clock in the afternoon, the home opened for tours and did not close for the next 24 hours, allowing those who waited with bated breath over the last five years to get in for a free, self-guided tour of the premises. Patrons flocked to the all-night event and as a result a line formed that could rival most film openings or concert ticket lines. The atmosphere among patrons had the similar joviality of such events. Anticipating the 2 to 3 hours wait time, some patrons packed picnics or passed around flasks filled with wine.
Aside from being able to view one of Southern California’s most beloved architectural gems for free, the prospect of touring a home at such an intimate hour of night or early morning convinced many to wait.
“It’s like, when are you ever going to see it at night? You get to see it as if you lived there,” said Jennifer Wong, an architectural designer, who spoke to The Los Angeles Times.
In true Los Angeles form, the community rallied around the event like none other. When patrons in line grew hungry and weary, families selling girl scout cookies were on hand to liven spirits and quiet rumbling stomachs. A few food trucks serving hot dogs, ice cream and deli food camped out until the wee hours of the morning.
Luxurious Home Secures Place in Los Angeles History
With the reopening of Hollyhock House, Los Angeles home owners are once again privy to one of the most stunning properties in the region. The home was originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for oil heiress and patron of the arts Aline Barnsdall.
Construction began on the home in 1919, and the home was originally planned to be part of an arts and theater complex known as Olive Hill. However, Wright’s vision and ambition for the property far exceeded Barnsdall’s budget. The home itself was completed in 1921, but plans to construct the other buildings for the complex were axed. In 1927, Barnsdall donated the house to the city of Los Angeles.
Throughout the years the home has served as the headquarters for the California Art Club, an art gallery and now holds a National Historic Landmark designation. With so many coming out for the reopening of Hollyhock House, it seems the spirit of art and a proud sense of history is alive and well in Los Angeles.
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