Sunday, October 20, 2013
The Ennis House and Frank Lloyd Wright
I love the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. One of his houses is in Southern California. It is known as the Ennis House and the information taken for this blog was taken from the Los Angeles Times and "Curbed Los Angeles".
The Ennis house was completed in 1924 and Mr. Wright considered it his favorite house. This was the last and largest of the four concrete block houses that Mr. Wright built in the Los Angeles area. The Ennis house was the best example of Mayan Revival architecture in the country.
The house is on about an acre in the Los Feliz area and on a very narrow curvy street. The house has 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, plus staff quarters that makes the house about 6000 square feet. The house at the time of construction cost $300,000 to build; which is about $3.8 million today.
Mr. Wright's client was Charles Ennis, the owner of a men's clothing store in downtown Los Angeles. For each of Mr. Wright's houses built with textile blocks, Mr. Wright designed a custom pattern. The pattern was a Greek key for the Ennis house. In 1920, concrete was considered a new material and was a combination of gravel, granite and sand from the site, mixed with water and then hand-cast in aluminum molds to create a block 16 inches wide, 16 inches tall and 3.5 inches thick. It took 10 days for each block to dry, before it could be stacked into position. The double wall construction called for exterior blocks and interior blocks to be set about one inch apart. the amount of blocks estimated to have been used range from 27,000 to 40,000.
When Mr. Wright designed the Ennis house in 1923, he had lived and worked in Tokyo and built several houses in Los Angeles. At the beginning of Wright's career, he was a 19th century Mid-Westerner and his Prairie Style Houses tended to be low and dark. By the time he designed the Ennis house, he was less afraid of sunlight and more cosmopolitan.
One of the owners created the Trust for Preservation of Cultural Heritage; which now the Ennis House Foundation. The home sustained serious damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and was briefly red-tagged after the heavy rains of 2004. The Ennis House Foundation has stabilized a buckling retaining wall and made other repairs, but a significant investment in restoration is needed before house can be what it once was.
In 2009, the Ennis House Foundation put the landmark up for sale. Ron Burkle purchased the Ennis house for about $4.5 million. According to news statements, Mr. Burkle is committed to complete the rehabilitation of the Ennis House and has a track record of preserving important historic homes. As part of the transaction, Mr. Burkle is to provide 12 days per year of some sort of public access.
Pictures edited today:
Second one is lamp at Castle Green in Pasadena, CA