What Shall We Do Today: Hollyhock House

One beautiful day on a weekend not long ago, though longer ago than it really should be because I’m behind on my blog posts, the Boy and I decided to check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s first project in Los Angeles: The Hollyhock House. 
One of the many (many – I think I have a problem) e-newsletters I get noted that the Hollyhock House had re-opened to visitors, and being a severely lapsed Art & Architecture major, I figured we should probably go check it out. So, one bizarrely warm day for early spring (even in Los Angeles), we went.

Hollyhock House is in Barnsdall Art Park in Silverlake, a big park on a hill that I’ve only been to for some event that involved a bunch of food trucks at sunset. The house is low and sandy and gives the effect of modern architecture meets Mayan (or is it Aztec?) palace, though unfortunately you can’t get too close to the exterior as the whole thing is surrounded by a fence.

I couldn’t take any photos inside, so you’ll have to be content with my exterior shots, but we did go inside – it’s a self-guided tour ($7 for an adult) with a guidebook that explains the design and history of the various rooms.

Due to limited handicap access, they are legally required to give everyone limited access, so the tour is quite brief and you find yourself peering into more rooms than you’re able to get close to (the entire second story, for instance, is off limits and the sort of informational museum gallery, due to being up a few stairs, wasn’t open either).

It was certainly interesting, if more limited than we would have liked, but I always like the more unusual aspects of Wright’s work – they feel like secrets you’re searching for, whether it’s the stylized hollyhocks hidden throughout the house, the intricate hinging of the front doors, or the (now defunct) stream that ran around the fireplace in the middle of the living room. Plus, it’s fun to be in a custom house where the ceiling are just above your boyfriend’s head. WE BE GIANTS.

Hopefully, the tour will expand soon as Hollyhock House becomes more handicap accessible – and unless you’re a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan or Los Angeles history buff, I might recommend waiting until then to get the full bang for your buck. Of course, if you happen to find yourself at Barnsdall Art Park, it’s a good little stop – and when you step outside, it’s quite the L.A. view.

Hollyhock House
4800 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

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