As part of a new project orchestrated by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in L.A.’s Barnsdall Park could soon be accessible to the public via virtual reality. The Mayan-Revival style home was built between 1919 and 1921 as Wright’s first Los Angeles–based residential commission and presaged the architect’s experimental “textile block” technology, a system Wright envisioned as a do-it-yourself solution for prefabricated building. The house is also considered the first work in the architect’s post-Prairie Style period. Previously, in Wright’s Prairie Style work, divisions between interior and exterior were stark and emphasized; with the Hollyhock House, that dichotomy gave way to a more fluid relationship between landscape and space, interior and exterior, presaging certain tendencies inherent in the coming modernism movement. The home was also an influential project on Wright understudy Rudolph Schindler. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007 and has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The structure was renovated most recently starting in 2010 by architects Brenda Lavin & Associates, a $ 4.4 million modernization and restoration scheme that aimed to bring the structure back to its original luster. The DCA is seeking to make the relic more accessible to the general public and, more specifically, for patrons who cannot enter the building due to its noncompliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The historic status of the work makes ADA-focused retrofits impossible. Instead, DCA is working to transform the interiors of the structure into a virtual reality experience that can be accessed both on-site in Barnsdall Park and via the internet. According to DCA, the virtualization project could potentially increase the accessibility of the house by 210%, an increase that could perhaps boost physical attendance at the site, as well. The push would make the site’s bid for UNESCO status potentially more plausible. The nomination was organized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and submitted as a group nomination including nine other Wright buildings, including the Fallingwater, Guggenheim, Taliesin, and Taliesin West projects in 2015. While the status of the nomination is still pending, the DCA proposal will be working its way toward approval by the Los Angeles City Council's Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee, the full L.A. City Council, and ultimately, the L.A. Mayor’s office.
Posts tagged with "Hollyhock House":
The lengthy renovation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House—his first residence in Los Angeles—is finally over. On February 13 Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local luminaries will cut the ribbon on the landmark's re-opening. Built between 1919 and 1921, the house takes its name from the favorite flower of Wright's client, feisty oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. Its eclectic style combines elements of Mayan Revival, Early Modernism, and Wright's own Prairie Style, featuring tilted concrete walls, narrow, leaded art glass windows, bas-reliefs, and an expansive central courtyard. The centerpiece is the living room, with its theatrical fireplace, which was once fronted by a large, water-filled moat. The Hollyhock motif is repeated in details throughout. The house had already undergone renovations in 1944, 1974, and (due to earthquake damage) 2001. But over time the property had further deteriorated, and the $4.35 million renovation was begun in 2011, led by curator Jeffrey Herr, non-profit Project Restore, Griswold Conservation Associates, and the city's departments of Engineering and Cultural Affairs, among others. The bulk of funding for the restoration came from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures program, and the City of Los Angeles. "We were able to dig deeper into this than has ever been done before," said Herr, who noted the team brought the house as close as possible to its original form through "archaeological" explorations, investigating everything from paint and plaster layers to original drawings and blueprints. For instance, to bring plaster finishes from their "muddy" form back to their original glistening gold state, the team devised a formula of micah suspended in alcohol. "When you walk in, it’s pretty amazing the difference. I still haven’t gotten used to it, which is a good thing," said Herr. Among other things, the team restored many of the home's moldings, walls, floors, fixtures, doors, and fenestration. Heavy lifting included waterproofing the house, fixing drainage systems, restoring the roof, and performing crack repairs. The most rigorously restored rooms were the dining room, library, enclosed porch, garage, kitchen, and chauffeur's quarters. After the February 13 opening the house will be open for tours through the evening, into the next day—which happens to be Valentines Day for you romantic architecture geeks. Some trivia: Wright and Barnsdall originally planned an extensive, very unconventional complex for the site of Barnsdall park, including a movie house, school, artist housing and studios, and what one newspaper called "one of the most exquisite theaters the world has ever seen." Wright's distraction, and Barnsdall's unhappiness with the client and the plan, doomed the scheme.