Frank Lloyd Wright, And How To Kill An Afternoon
Posted by bmac on March 7, 2008
I was in L.A. yesterday, just for the day. Can’t really say why, but it was a paying gig. And yes, it was legal. I had the afternoon to kill, so I took a little field trip to see one of only four houses in all of Los Angeles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. All the houses he designed there had a similar theme, a Mayan block motif.
I find myself fascinated by these houses, not only because I love Wrights design, but because they have an ominous, almost menacing look to them. The house I went to, the Ennis-Brown House, has been used in a bunch of movies for just that reason. It was featured in the original “House on Haunted Hill”, and it’s most famous cameo, Harrison Fords house in ”Blade Runner.”
This house is currently in very bad dis-repair. Built around 1924, the materials Wright chose are composite blocks that aren’t weathering too well, and the ’94 Northridge quake as well as the 2005 deluge of rain that hit L.A. have taken their toll on this amazing piece of architectural history.
When I was there, there were only one or two guys working inside (The public can’t go in) but I understand it’s being renovated with donations from the public. My pictures don’t really capture the massiveness of this house, it’s enormous, taking up almost an entire block, and it’s no easy feat to get to. It sits high up in the hills of Los Feliz, just below the Griffith observatory, and the view is breathtaking, a panoramic of all of Los Angeles.
I wish I got a less cluttered view, but click on it to see a little better. It’s a small thing, but here’s this stupid little porch light that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, kind of lost within this massive structure. Simple, but unmistakably FLW.
Each block is 16 inches, if that gives you an idea of the size.
Just down the hill from this house, is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. that I thought I’d check out while I was in the neghborhood, the Sowden House, which is also Mayan themed, and has been used in a zillion TV shows and movies.
It’s got the added attraction of being somewhat infamous, when it was recently tied to the Black Dhalia murder, by the son of the guy who owned it in the 40’s. He maintains she was killed and mutilated in this house. By his father. There were people in it, ( I believe you can rent it out nightly or weekly) so I couldn’t get too close, or linger around.
These houses evoke a kind of film noir darkness of old Los Angeles, old Hollywood, probably best captured in a film like “L.A. Confidential,” that I find fascinating. In fact, the Sowden House was used in L.A. Confidential. There must have been some twisted parties that went down in these houses.
Anyway, hope this isn’t too boring, but I enjoyed it.