Sunday, September 7, 2014

Photo Essay: Barnsdall Art Park's Hollyhock House, Closed for Renovations

Most people probably only go to Barnsdall Art Park for their summer winetasting events on Friday nights...



...but I've found myself gravitating there on hot summer afternoons, when I'm looking for some peace and quiet...



...and a place to sit, far removed from the Hollywood traffic below, yet with a view of the Hollywood Sign.



It's a good place to bring out-of-town visitors (as I did with Edith a couple years ago)...



...and an even better place to meet up with local friends...



...when you just want to see each other, and talk, and hang out, and don't require coffee or food or booze to do so.



Besides the seasonal winetasting events, and the occasional farmer's market, there's also a number of gallery events and studio workshops in the park...



...as well as Frank Lloyd Wright's first LA project (and second in California), the Hollyhock House.



It's a leaky thing (typical of Frank Lloyd Wright), and currently closed for restoration.



It was supposed to reopen by now, but apparently they're still working on it.



Thanks to its somewhat remote and unpatrolled location, it's also fallen victim to vandalism...



...and provides a safe haven for homeless encampments.



When you can get close to it...



...if you use your imagination...



...you can see the design inspiration for the house:



...the hollyhock, the favorite flower of Aline Barnsdall, the oil heiress for whom the house was built.



It is, of course, a more geometric representation of the flower...



...and the geometry so typical of Wright's architecture and interior design is evident inside the house as well.



From the leaded art glass...



...to the furniture...



...the Hollyhock House is a preserved showcase of Frank Lloyd Wright's style...



...if you can get inside of it.



These photos were taken three years ago, when the Hollyhock House was still open for public tours (during those winetasting events)...



...and considering many of the interior elements were original (and in good condition)...



...it's unclear how much will be changed (or unchanged) when it reopens.



For now, you can still visit Barnsdall Park and view the house from afar...



...atop what was once known as Olive Hill, as far removed from LA as you can be, while smack dab in the middle of Hollywood.

Sometimes you need to get away, without going very far.

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