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Do the Wright Thing
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residences in Los Angeles are few yet unforgettable. His genius doesn't come without a price in the long term, though.
While Wright is widely considered to be the most influential architect to emerge from late nineteenth and twentieth century America, his realized projects for Los Angeles were at times impractical indeed. This stubborn brilliance and his miscalculations means that his local repertoire -- including the Hollyhock House, Freeman House, and the Ennis-Brown House -- pose serious challenges concerning maintenance, rehabilitation, and preservation.
Among the few built gems attributed to the master is the Mayan-influenced, Art Deco style Ennis-Brown House, built in 1924 and perched in the Los Feliz hills. Lucky for Angelenos, the house has been an accessible resource, it’s generally open for tours and is a familiar, beloved landmark in the hills. And like many historic properties in Los Angeles, it’s also eminently recognizable to folks all over the world from its frequent appearance in movies and television.
But the situation at the house is becoming dire. The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles has recently issued a preservation plea on behalf of the precast textile block structure, whose programming is jointly run by the ADS. Tours have been put on hold for the past couple months due to structural stability issues, and the house is in serious need of financial support so that shoring can be completed and rehabilitation work undertaken.
In the meantime, one of Los Angeles’s best architectural treasures will again remain in limbo.
Photo by Jacy Young/LAist