Just Above Sunset
January 8, 2006 - Ennis House - Frank Lloyd Wright - Los Angeles, 1924

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You might have heard this on March 3rd last year on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" – "The Ennis-Brown House, Frank Lloyd Wright's striking concrete-block aerie in the Hollywood Hills, is at risk of falling prey to the catastrophic mudslides that have swept trees and homes from hillsides around Los Angeles."  


Or on August 4, 2005 you might have seen this from Hugh Eakin in the New York Times - Three Groups Join in Effort to Save Wright's Ennis House -


The campaign to save the house has been led by the actress Diane Keaton, who is on the board of the new foundation. She faults the Hollywood community for not taking more of an interest in the house, which has been featured in films like "Blade Runner" and the original "House on Haunted Hill."


"It should really be saved by my community, the film community, because it's been used so many times," she said in a telephone interview. "As an actress, I've always been drawn to the drama of the place."


The place was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and by the massive rainstorms in the winter of 2004, and then was red-tagged by City of Los Angeles inspectors in March 2005 when the main retaining wall failed.  Parts of Black Rain and Day of the Locust (1974) were also filmed here, so that fits.  Now the place has been yellow-tagged, with limited access from repairs only.  In any event there's a new foundation to save the place - The Ennis House - working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the LA Conservancy and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.  They have a plan to save the structure.


This house might remind you of an Aztec or Mayan temple – it's the largest of the four houses that Wright built in out here in the twenties using an experimental form of concrete block construction that have that look.  Those four are - 

  • Millard House – 1923 (645 Prospect Crescent, Pasadena)
  • Storer House – 1923 (8161 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles) – photographed in these pages here.
  • Freeman House – 1923 (1962 Glencoe Way, Los Angeles) – "The Freeman's made their house a center of avant-garde artistic and political activity in Los Angeles. Harriet Freeman gave the house to the USC School of Architecture to protect and preserve."
  • Ennis House – 1924 (2607 Glendower Avenue, Los Angeles) - Thomas Heinz, Architectural Digest, October 1979 - "This residence is one of the most unusual of Wright's California designs. In it, he combined elements from his past work with a new vocabulary created specifically for the sun-drenched, slightly rugged topography of Southern California. Aware that his client shared his affinity for Mayan art and architecture, he drew inspiration from that culture's highly ornamented and organized buildings."

Further background here in Great Buildings Online and a bit on "textile blocks" here, and here comments from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and interesting notes from Architect Studio 3D here.


Here's what Ennis House looks like now. 


See also...


Textile Blocks



This nasty dog and the yellow tags mean you only get exterior views.

Ennis House - Frank Lloyd Wright - 12/18/05

Ennis House - Frank Lloyd Wright - 12/18/05

Façades –

Ennis House - Frank Lloyd Wright - 12/18/05

Ennis House - Frank Lloyd Wright - 12/18/05

Ennis House - Frank Lloyd Wright - 12/18/05

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If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  

There is a copyright notice at the bottom of this page, of course.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 – lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70mm 1:35-4.5G ED

They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0



Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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