Spinelli Kilcollin Field Trips! The Hollyhock House

Posted on January 17, 2017

The Hollyhock House 

In Hollywood, not far from the Spinelli Kilcollin headquarters, is one of the most important architectural artifacts in Los Angeles. 

The Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright was constructed between 1919 and 1921.

It is, as he noted, a meditation on the "freedom to make one’s own form." 

The Hollyhock House takes its name from Aline Barnsdall’s favorite flower, the Hollyhock. The flowers were incorporated into the interior decoration programs: drawings and representations of Hollyhocks are all over the roofline, walls, columns, and furniture. 

Aline Barnsdall was an heiress, avant garde artist, feminist, and producer of experimental theatre. She was also a pioneer of modern architecture in Los Angeles, and is responsible for bringing Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, and Richard Neutra to California.

Aline and Frank had a strange, passionate, and intensely emotional personal relationship that allowed for them to collaborate on interesting projects but also, at times, negatively effected their productivity. The Hollyhock House was originally intended to be part of an arts and theater complex on a property in Los Feliz called Olive Hill--a project that Aline envisioned--but because of the complexity of their relationship, and of their relationships with others, the project never came to be. 

As with many of Wright's residences, the Hollyhock House has an "introverted" exterior with small windows. There are Mayan references abound: stacked staircases, earth-toned walls, and repeated square and rectangular shapes allude to Wright's points of inspiration. The decor in the living room also, very clearly, has a Japanese influence--which makes sense, as Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo while he was working on the house. The house is built on several different levels, with short flights of stairs in between each.

Today, surrounded by a modern theater and art galleries, Hollyhock House comes closer to realizing its original purpose as the centerpiece of a functioning arts complex.

The house has several garden spaces--rooftop spaces that allow for viewings of the spectacular views of, on clear days, the Hollywood Hills, a central garden court, patio spaces connected to each indoor space-- connected by glass doors, porches, pergolas or colonnades. 

The house was restored in February 2015. 

You can visit the Hollyhock House with a guided tour, self-guided tour, or just spent time in the beautiful, surrounding fields and gardens. 


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