Hollyhock House to reopen for self-guided tours

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Wave Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles’ historic Hollyhock House will reopen to the public on Aug. 18, city officials have announced.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and the Department of Cultural Affairs will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 a.m. to celebrate the return of in-person, self-guided tours.

The Department of Cultural Affairs also will host a house lawn party on Aug. 20 from 4 to 9 p.m.

The free community event will feature performances from Bob Baker Marionette Theater, music, crafts and celebratory remarks. Hot dogs, chips, and drinks will be on sale. The lawn party will celebrate the reopening of all facilities in Barnsdall Park including the Hollyhock House, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, the Barnsdall Arts Center and the Barnsdall Junior Arts Center.

The house has been closed since the start of the pandemic, during which it also underwent restoration projects and “significant transformations,” according to Daniel Tarica, interim general manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

“Visitors will once again be able to appreciate this historic site in-person, including expanded access through our self-guided tour program,” Tarica said. “Through the pandemic closure, staff have undertaken critical restoration projects and enhanced interpretation of the site. Visitors will now see these significant transformations at Hollyhock House and Residence A.”

The first phase of the restoration project, which included recreating exterior finishes, completing structural and seismic work and improving building systems, cost more than $5 million. Funding came from the city, as well as the Community Redevelopment Agency and the National Park Service.

It was completed last December.

The second phase included interior detailing, furnishings, finishes, infrastructure repair, exterior landscaping and making the area compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Hollyhock House was built between 1919 and 1921 for Aline Barnsdall, and it was architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s first commission in Los Angeles. In 2019, it became Los Angeles’ first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of eight Wright buildings that were collectively recognized as UNESCO’s first modern architecture designation in the United States.

“Residence A” was designed by Wright as a guest house to the Hollyhock House, and it is the first part of the Hollyhock House campus that guests see when they enter the park.

“Since taking office, my team and I have worked tirelessly to champion and fund the restoration of the Hollyhock House campus,” O’Farrell said. “When Hollyhock House was restored in 2015, we reopened this priceless cultural landmark to the public, and I can still remember the excitement felt by so many Angelenos. We’ve now weathered the storm of COVID-19, and I can’t wait to welcome people back to this iconic place — the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the city of Los Angeles.”

Forty olive trees were planted in the park in June as part of an effort to restore the park’s historic olive grove.

Wright preserved the olive grove and incorporated it into his plans when it was built, but after Barnsdall’s death in 1946 the property was subdivided into separate residential and commercial parcels and by 1992, only 90 olive trees were preserved.

Abbey Chamberlain Brach, Hollyhock House curator for the Department of Cultural Affairs, said the olive grove inspired Wright and Barnsdall.

“The architecture is responsive to the landscape, it’s engaged with it,” Brach said. “Wright designed its structures to be nestled within the historic olive grove and it frames views as the original roadways weave their ways through the landscape.”

“We’re eager to welcome visitors back inside Hollyhock House to experience firsthand Wright’s dramatic expression of California, which feels as modern now as it did upon its completion 100 years ago,” Brach added.

Tours of the Hollyhock House will be offered Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tours will include the restored outdoor spaces, showcasing new aspects of Wright’s self-proclaimed “garden house.” Advanced ticket are required and tour capacity is limited.

Visit hollyhockhouse.org for more information.



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