It's hard to imagine how the original owner of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, the oil heiress and renegade Aline Barnsdall, could find it intolerable. She practically forced the city to take the 5,000-square-foot Mayan-esque compound on Olive Hill, with its surrounding moat and central courtyard and interior river, off her hands. The city finally did, in 1927 — and it did a shoddy job of keeping up with the property (those Wrights are a bitch to maintain), at least until recent years. A meticulous, $4.4 million restoration from 2010 until February 2015 returned much of the house, now part of Barnsdall Art Park, to its original function and intent. The egomaniacal Wright and the eccentric Barnsdall had their aesthetic differences, but there's no denying that Wright was deeply inspired by his first house in L.A., having stylistically left behind the flat and frigid prairies of the Midwest for the dramatic and exotic influences of Southern California. In a way, the seed of modern architecture was planted there on Olive Hill; when Wright couldn't devote enough attention to the project, he coaxed his colleague from Chicago, Austrian architect Rudolph Schindler, to come west. Schindler in turn brought on his friend from the motherland, Richard Neutra. Thanks to the Hollyhock, the rest is history.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly