Hollyhock House, One of Eight Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings, Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

by Department of Cultural Affairs on August 9, 2019
Hollyhock House

July 7, 2019 – The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, has officially inscribed The 20 th -Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which includes eight major works spanning 50 years of Wright’s career, on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Wright is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century, and the sites in the group inscription span his influential career.  There are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world, and the group of Wright sites is now among only 24 sites in the U.S. The collection represents the first modern architecture designation in the country on the prestigious list.

“Hollyhock House is one of Los Angeles’ greatest cultural treasures — a landmark elegantly rendered from Frank Lloyd Wright’s imagination and Aline Barnsdall’s vision,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The history of this home and its excellent craftsmanship will inspire Angelenos for generations to come, and Hollyhock House’s well-deserved place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List is a fitting tribute to this bold structure."

“This designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site underscores the significance of Los Angeles' rich history of modern architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House is a beloved masterpiece locally, and now a treasure worldwide. The inscription of this nomination marks the first modern architectural cultural property designation not only in California, but the United States. It has been a pleasure working with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and all parties in our efforts to preserve and restore the priceless cultural resources at Barnsdall Art Park — and our work continues! We are grateful to the National Park Service for recognizing that our collaboration here at home enhanced this serial nomination,” said Mitch O’Farrell, Los Angeles City Councilmember, 13th District.

“It is brilliant when architects shape the future, and exceptional when their work becomes a unique part of the city’s landscape. We are grateful for the inclusion of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House on the World Heritage List, and thankful that the artistry of his work will be made available for all to experience. This recognition results from the strong vision Aline Barnsdall followed in commissioning the house and in donating it and the surrounding land to eventually become Barnsdall Park. We are excited to make this treasure more accessible with our recently completed virtual accessibility experience and with our digital archives,” said Danielle Brazell, General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA).

“The Department of Recreation and Parks is delighted that Hollyhock House has joined the prestigious list of iconic and historically significant spaces in the United States. Los Angeles is a place of natural and architectural wonder, and we are honored this treasure in Barnsdall Park is recognized,” said Michael A. Shull, General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

About Hollyhock House

The storied history of Hollyhock House begins with Aline Barnsdall, a Pennsylvanian oil heiress interested in producing theater in her own venue. Purchasing a 36-acre site in Hollywood known as Olive Hill in 1919, Barnsdall commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build a theater where she could produce avant-garde plays. Soon after, the project morphed into a performing arts complex that included her residence. Construction on the project began in 1919 and ended in 1921 when Barnsdall fired Wright, citing costs as the primary reason for the contract’s termination. At the time, Frank Lloyd Wright was already an established architect, who was concurrently working on the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.

A philanthropist, art collector, political radical, and single parent, Barnsdall deeded the land now known as Barnsdall Park and its Frank Lloyd Wright designed structures as a permanent home for the appreciation of art and architecture to the City of Los Angeles in 1927. In doing so, she provided an accessible arts center to the community that incorporated and preserved the famous Hollyhock House as a crucial component. Aline Barnsdall’s pioneering vision gave birth to the California Modernism movement and helped grow the careers of notable architects including Wright, Schindler, and Neutra — all of whom were instrumentally involved in the project.

The house has served various purposes, including a fifteen-year run as the headquarters of the California Art Club beginning in 1927. After a major restoration by the City (1974 to 1976) it became a public museum. It was among the first structures to be designated as a historic-cultural monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1963. In 2007 it became a National Historic Landmark.

“After a $4 million restoration completed in 2014, the property is an important historical revelation for first-time visitors and regulars alike. Visitors experience the house in much of its original splendor. Floors, windows, doors, decorative molding, and long-forgotten paint colors were recreated with utmost attention to detail,” said Ed Avila, President, Project Restore.

Hollyhock House is operated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). DCA provides educational programming, conservation services, and individual and group tours of this historic site that offer a window into Aline Barnsdall’s life and her artistic vision, in addition to her extraordinary partnership with one of the United States’ greatest architects.

About the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

As a leading, progressive arts and cultural agency, DCA empowers Los Angeles’s vibrant communities by supporting and providing access to quality visual, literary, musical, performing, and educational arts programming; managing vital cultural centers; preserving historic sites; creating public art; and funding services provided by arts organizations and individual artists.

Formed in 1925, DCA promotes arts and culture as a way to ignite a powerful dialogue, engage LA’s residents and visitors, and ensure LA’s varied cultures are recognized, acknowledged, and experienced. DCA’s mission is to strengthen the quality of life in Los Angeles by stimulating and supporting arts and cultural activities, ensuring public access to the arts for residents and visitors alike.

DCA advances the social and economic impact of arts and culture through grantmaking, public art, community arts, performing arts, and strategic marketing, development, design, and digital research. DCA creates and supports arts programming, maximizing relationships with other city agencies, artists, and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to provide excellent service in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.

Visiting the Hollyhock House

For more information on operating hours, tours, and more please visit https://culturela.org/cultural-centers/hollyhock-house/