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Tour the Hollyhock House in L.A., Now a World Heritage Site

Tour the Hollyhock House in L.A., Now a World Heritage Site

The East Hollywood home by Frank Lloyd Wright gives L.A. its first UNESCO honoree

Posted 4 years agoby Katrina Hunt

The city of Los Angeles is now home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and in an ironic twist, it’s a Hollywood home that almost met the wrecking ball in the 1940s.

Hollyhock House, built between 1918 and 1921 on a hill in East Hollywood, is one of eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that collectively attained the UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and marks the first designation for modern architecture in the United States. (The seven other lauded Wright buildings include the Guggenheim in New York City, Taliesin West in Scottsdale, and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.)

“It’s a phenomenal moment for L.A.,” Danielle Brazell, head of cultural affairs for the city of Los Angeles, recently told the Los Angeles Times. “We now have a World Heritage Site in the middle of our city. It’s the highest recognition by an international body to acknowledge that Hollyhock House has universal value. There is no greater honor for a cultural site in the world.”

Like many Wright creations, the Mayan-influenced Hollyhock has its own colorful backstory. It was commissioned by an oil heiress who was partial to hollyhock flowers; after clashing with the notoriously mercurial Wright, she fired him and ultimately never even lived there. When the house fell into disrepair, the city intervened, did extensive work on the property, and ultimately made it a public attraction in the 1970s.

Today, you can explore the grounds at Barnsdall Art Park (which features live hollyhocks) for $7, or pay $7 extra for a docent-led tour of either the grounds or inside the house. Check the calendar, too, for events on the grounds such as Barnsdall Friday Night Wine Tastings.

This summer is prime time to visit other Wright creations too. Another L.A. Times article reports that five Wright homes across California—some almost never open to the public—are offering tours on select dates this summer. On July 13, for instance, you can explore the “pre-restored” Wilbur Pearce House in Bradbury, 25 miles northeast of downtown L.A.; on July 28, there’s a tour of the Robert Berger House in Marin County’s San Anselmo (wine pour included).

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