Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock Houseadmin
After oil heiress and philanthropist Aline Barnsdall bought this cute little hill after the end of World War I, she engaged Frank Lloyd Wright to build her a group of buildings at its summit. The complex was designed to include a cinema, a theater and an array of artists’ studios alongside Hollyhock House, Barnsdall’s proposed home, but it was never completed and she never moved in.
Barnsdall went on to donate the house, guest house and 11 acres of the land to the city on the premise that they be used as a public art park. More than eight decades later, the site still fulfills that role, with exhibitions in a variety of different gallery spaces and public tours of the Hollyhock House ($7, Thu-Sun, 11am-4pm).
In the summer, the park hosts a variety of al fresco cinema nights, wine tastings and cultural events that bring out a nice mix of singles, couples and young families.
|Address:||4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles 90027
|Opening hours:||Daily 5am-10pm; Municipal Art Gallery Thu-Sun noon-5pm|
Barnsdall Art Park is a city park located in the East Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California. Parking and arts buildings access is from Hollywood Boulevard on the park’s north side. The park is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Aline Barnsdall donated Barnsdall Park to the City of Los Angeles for arts and recreational purposes, including the preservation of the historic architecture and landscape features. Located at the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park overlooks the city of Los Angeles, and the Hollywood Hills, including Griffith Park. The park is centered on the Barnsdall’s Hollyhock House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a National Historic Landmark, Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and on the National Register of Historic Places in Los Angeles.
Aline Barnsdall, a native of Bradford, Pennsylvania and heiress to an oil fortune, was led by her interest in the future of the American stage to Chicago, Illinois, where she co-directed an experimental theatre company. While in Chicago, she met the equally unconventional Frank Lloyd Wright, whose recently completed Midway Gardens she admired.
A trip to California turned Barnsdall’s attention to Los Angeles. In 1915 she commissioned Wright to help her develop an innovative theatrical community on the nation’s western cultural frontier. Selecting a thirty-six acre site in East Hollywood known as Olive Hill, Barnsdall and Wright worked together to develop a plan that included a home for Barnsdall and her young daughter, two secondary residences, a theater, a director’s house, a dormitory for actors, studios for artists, shops, and a motion picture theater. The site plan was based on the gridded spacing of the existing olive grove’s 1225 trees.
Main article: Hollyhock House
The Aline Barnsdall Residence, known as Hollyhock House, was the first Los Angeles project of Frank Lloyd Wright. Built between 1919 and 1921, it represents his earliest efforts to develop a regionally appropriate style of architecture for Southern California.
Taking advantage of the area’s mild climate, Hollyhock House is a combination of house and gardens. It is a remarkable example of Wright’s love of nature and the way he incorporated it into his designs. The house takes its name from the hollyhock blossom, the favorite flower of Aline Barnsdall. Wright’s abstracted hollyhock patterns were incorporated into the decoration motif on and in the residence.
Wright was often absent during the actual construction of Hollyhock House, due to the demands of a major commission, the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. Therefore, he gave supervision of the Barnsdall project to two young Taliesin studio associates: his son Lloyd Wright, and Rudolph Schindler. They both became independently renowned architects.