Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most influential American architects of our time built Hollyhock House. Oil heiress and devoted arts patron, Aline Barnsdall, commissioned him to design it for her and her daughter to live in. Despite many delays and changes to the original plans of the house caused by disagreements between Barnsdall and Wright, it began construction in 1919 and was completed in 1921.
The house was originally part of a bigger plan that included a theater, director’s house, dormitory, studios and shops. Her complete plan did not come to fruition due to financial and creative differences, thus only Hollyhock House, Residence A and Residence B were constructed. In 1927, Barnsdall eventually donated the home and the surrounding area to the City of Los Angeles for use as a public art park in memory of her father, Theodore Barnsdall. Presently, Barnsdall’s wish for it to be the heart of an active arts center is holding true as the park is now home to a world-class art gallery operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Decades later, the house experienced intense leakage problems, sagging concrete beams, distorted paint color, cracks in the pool and multiple structural issues. In 2006, Project Restore launched a campaign to seek funds for its restoration. By 2009, a total of $4.359 million was secured for the project through federal and state grants as well as a generous matching fund from the City of Los Angeles. Kevin Jew, Project Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Project Restore managed the $2.424 million in grants allocated for restoration and improvements, and contracted a team of professional preservationists and craftsmen. He coordinated the work of contractors and multi-city agencies.
After nearly four years of construction and restoration work, the house reopened in February 2015 to rave reviews. The project has won awards from the California Preservation Foundation, LA Conservancy, LA Business Council, Engineering News Record and the American Institute of Architects.
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