Restoring a Historic House Museum Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Hollyhock House | Los Angeles County, CA
Under contract to the City of Los Angeles “Project Restore” agency, LSA prepared a supplemental Historic Structures Report (HSR) for Hollyhock House, the centerpiece of the National Historic Landmark Aline Barnsdall Complex. This grouping of buildings and structures on Olive Hill in east Hollywood together represent Frank Lloyd Wright’s first commissioned work in Los Angeles and the beginning of his “Romanza” period, characterized by the broad use of cast concrete textile blocks. Barnsdall Park is a Los Angeles City Park run jointly by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Cultural Affairs Department, and Hollyhock House is a City-run house museum. The City received a $1.9 million matching grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to fund Phase III of the ongoing repair and restoration efforts at Hollyhock House, and the original HSR drafted in 1992 was updated in order to evaluate and prioritize the work to be done.
To prepare the HSR, LSA subcontracted with Chattel Architecture, Preservation, and Planning, structural engineer Mel Green, conservator Charles Kibby, waterproofing specialist Independent Roofing Consultants, fountain specialist Drake Woods, materials tester Smith Emery, and cost estimator Cumming Corporation. With recommendations from these specialists, LSA addressed a list of issues focused on repairing leaks, stabilizing chimneys, restoring fountains, and addressing overgrown trees. The Supplemental HSR also updated the developmental history section, including work that had been performed since the original HSR was drafted in 1992, the impact of the 1996 Northridge earthquake, and new primary sources that changed initial assumptions about historic alterations to the home. The City was able to use the information prepared by LSA and subconsultants to use the California Cultural and Historical Endowment grant money in the most effective manner to make critical repairs that will keep this Architectural Landmark open for years to come.