FIFTY-FIVE YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH, FRANK LLOYD
Wright remains a towering figure in architectural history and popular mythology.
With an unwavering belief in his own genius, he survived every setback and
fought tirelessly to realize his vision. He designed more than 500 buildings,
reconceived the American city and proposed a mile-high tower. Wright’s
masterpieces—from the Robie House to the Guggenheim—are timeless
classics, but even the flawed projects compel our attention, none more so
than the Hollyhock House, which has just reopened for public tours following
an intensive three-year restoration.
The Hollyhock House was the first of Wright’s attempts to create a new
American architecture in California. Inspired by pre-Columbian temples, he
designed a monumental structure that appears to be carved from concrete as
massive as blocks of stone. That’s an illusion. As an economy, hollow terracotta
tiles were plastered and ornamented with cast-concrete lintels, friezes and
finials. Wings embrace sweeping views and a water court. The Hollyhock
House, named for the owner’s favorite flower, has a rare beauty that makes it
easy to forget its troubled birth and defective construction.
TEXT: MICHAEL WEBB
PHOTOGRAPHY: JOSHUA WHITE
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S
HOLLYHOCK HOUSE REBORN