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LAistory: Sowden House

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Ken Kesey told us that “Some things are true, even if they never really happen.” What if a woman was never killed in a house that looks like it might gobble you up if you’re not careful? What if that crime felt true? Then where are you? Well, the answer is, of course, Los Angeles.

The Sowden House was built in 1926, for artist and photographer, John Sowden. He wanted a startling space with a large central courtyard where he could stage plays and parties for Hollywood’s elite. He hired his friend, Lloyd Wright (son of Frank Lloyd Wright) to design it. Lloyd worked as construction manager (and occasional designer) for his father’s three Los Angeles projects. Like those homes, Lloyd used textile block construction. He arranged these blocks into crests, transforming the house into a Mayan Temple. Its jagged peaks lead to its nickname, the Jaws House (as it looks like the gaping maw of a great white shark.)