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Hollyhock House/The Creative Community Opinion Essay

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Updated: Jul 8th, 2019

While starting the research, I would like to point out some general information, which is related to the construction in the East Hollywood. Thus, one should take into account that the main architect of the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House is an interior designer Frank Lloyd Wright.

Now the building is recognized a National Historic Landmark and considered to be one of the top houses in Los Angeles. Moreover, the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House was defined to be of special cultural significance according to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Another issue I want to draw your attention to concerns with the architecture of the construction. Accordingly, an enclosed area of the building reminds us of a theatrical stage. As far as the architect’s residence is considered to be a split-level home, there are many steps in this type of construction. In my opinion, the exterior walls of the building reflect a modern architectural movement of the early twenties.

Thereby, one may even feel the atmosphere of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures a contemporary movement was based on. The windows of the building remind us of lead came and copper foil glasswork. Hollyhocks are considered to be special ornamental plants, which are used to decorate the building. It seems that they were chosen specially for the landscape design project.

Although the original purpose of the building erecting was Olive Hill area expansion, Wright had no opportunity to complete the project, but now nobody will deny the fact that the original aim of the designer is even surpassed:

Today, surrounded by a modern theater, galleries and studios, Hollyhock House comes closer than ever before to realizing its original purpose as the centerpiece of a functioning arts complex.

Hollyhock House has been named one of the most significant structures of the 20th century by The American Institute of Architects and achieved National Historic Landmark recognition in 1997. The house attracts thousands of visitors annually, who come from around the world to acknowledge its place in the cultural and architectural history of Los Angeles (1).

To my mind, the above-mention citation may even confirm my own thoughts that in fifty years the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House will be regarded not only as a national heritage, but can be even transformed into the largest historical museum in the world. I suppose that the transformation is possible due to the cultural and historical advance of the construction.

If one looks at a list of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in Hollywood, he/she may point out that there are more than 145 monuments in the city, among which the most important monument is a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall.

There are the so-called a-priori concepts I rely on while investigating the paper. What does it mean? I do not use the individual perceptions, on the contrary, I just predicate, using the information I know.

In my opinion, Hollyhock House will not be a public place all the time. When California Romantic becomes the largest historical museum in the world, it will be defended from trouble, harm, attack, etc. One may think that if the building is used as a public Art Park and library now, nothing will be changed in fifty years.

I don’t agree with the statement for numerous reasons. One should keep in mind that there are many other examples, which are considered to be a striking demonstration of people’s desire to protect the most significant historical landmarks. In other words, when the house becomes the most important historical museum of the USA nobody will be allowed to visit it.

Those, who do not agree with my point of view, can argue their opinion using a printed form of National Historic Landmark Nomination and relying on the following:

The Aline Barnsdall House stands as a watershed moment in the continuum of Wright’s work and was one of a group of sixteen Wright buildings singled out in 1959 by the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as his most important to the nation…which ought to be preserved in their original form (4).

What can I say? – Mutantur tempora et nos mutamur in illis… For instance, in the early twenties, it was difficult to imagine that the generation of the 21st century will appreciate the things created long before its appearance.

The construction which is considered to be the most important historical landmark in our days wasn’t regarded as unusual in the early twenties. Thus, there were many other constructions (except the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House) which reflected Hispanic influences. For instance, George Washington Smith writes:

Although several Spanish Revival buildings have been designed and constructed before 1915, it was the Exposition that presented this new style to Californians. The label, Spanish Colonial Revival, is appropriate, for Goodhue developed his buildings’ forms from the Spanish Colonial architecture of Mexico (30).

So, there is no wonder that for people who were born in the 20th -21st centuries the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House is really a beautiful and unusual construction.

Another point I would like to discuss concerns with the impact of LA’s ecology on the Hollyhock house configuration. Thus, some scientists suppose that there are social and political processes which cause natural disasters in Los Angeles; they think that such disasters as fire and flooding are caused by people, and do not depend on climate peculiarities, certain weather conditions, etc.

I would like you to become familiar with the opinion of Reyner Banham. According to him, there are four ecologies which must be taken into consideration while erecting a building. Thus, the beach, the freeways, the flatlands, and the foothills are recognized to be the most important ecologies. According to him, most of the monuments of the foothills are just such an earth-form.

Moreover, the constructions which were built on the foothills are considered to be the most economical ways of building. Banham affirms that for the foothill ecology the only way to build a constriction is to scrap away the mountain until one gets enough horizontal surface. Banham states that:

The effects of mountain-cropping techniques are obviously going to be profound, ecologically and otherwise. Without joining the chorus of doom from professional Jeremiahs at Berkeley and in the Sierra Club, I must still admit that it proposes a different kind of ecological disturbance to those previously practiced in Los Angeles.

All building in foothill territory must involve some disturbance of the soil, the customary methods of working and designing did not alter the profiles of whole hills (89). The above-mentioned citation is also related to the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House and the Barnsdall Park.

Works Cited

Banham, Reyner. The Architecture of Four Ecologies. London, England: University California Press, Ltd., 2011. Print.

Smith, W. George. Architect of the Spanish Colonial Revival. Gibbs Smith, 2005. Print.

Hollyhock House. The Aline Barnsdall Residence. 2010. Web.

Herr, Jeffrey. Aline Barnsdall Complex. 2007. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Hollyhock House/The Creative Community." July 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hollyhock-house-the-creative-community/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Hollyhock House/The Creative Community'. 8 July.

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