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Frank Lloyd Wright in California
If you're a fan of architect Frank Lloyd Wright - or of great architecture in general, his California creations can form the center of some great day trips - or a longer vacation. Head to one or all of his designs strewn throughout California from San Francisco to Los Angeles and other lesser-known California destinations, like shopping centers and medical clinics.
In the 1920s as Frank Lloyd Wright's career and vision, he began probing new ideas and he wanted to bring his work westward.
Beginning with a design for George C. Stewart's Montecito house in 1909, and ending with the Redding Pilgrim Congregational Church in 1957, Frank Lloyd Wright placed his signature on the California landscape. You'll find that almost all of his designs share something in common: Most of his creations appear almost organic with their surroundings as if they sprung up from the nature around them.
In total, 26 buildings Frank Lloyd Wright designed in California are still standing. Remarkably,... only two have been lost: Residence B at Hollyhock House and Wright's Harper Avenue Studio in Los Angeles. You can see their locations on this Googe map.
The work Frank Lloyd Wright did in California was important. The American Institute of Architects designated seventeen Frank Lloyd Wright designs as most representative of his contribution to American culture. Three of them are located in California: Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, the V.C. Morris Gift Shop in San Francisco and the Hanna House in Palo Alto.
Most of Frank Lloyd Wright's California designs were private residences, but he also created California office buildings, shops, and a government center. Frank Lloyd Wright public buildings include a shopping center in Los Angeles, a gift shop in San Francisco, a church in Redding and the civic center in San Rafael. The complete lists are on these pages:Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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Open for Tours
Only a few Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are accessible to the general public. The public structures mentioned above are open to everyone, but only a handful of houses are open for tours. And even at that, those difficult-to-maintain structures are often closed for renovations. I suggest checking with any of them before planning a trip just to visit.
These are the Wright buildings that you can visit or tour:
Hollyhock House is open after an extensive renovation and restoration of another of his buildings nearby may start soon.
Ennis House was sold to a private owner in 2011. Conditions of the sale required that it be open to the public 12 days per year, but I expect that won't begin until the structure has been stabilized and... renovated, a process that could take many years.
Mrs. Clinton Walker House in Carmel is open one day a year as part of charity event.
Public Places: Respectful, polite visitors can also get into most of these public places when they're open, but don't expect them to give you a tour. The most you will be able to do is look around: Anderton Court Shops in Beverly Hills, Kundert Medical Clinic in San Luis Obispo and Redding's Pilgrim Congregational Church.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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The Lists: Frank Lloyd Wright's California
During his career, Frank Lloyd Wright developed a number of design styles, beginning with the Prairie style at his first office near Chicago. From there, he moved into other styles that were inspired by the places he worked in.
Textile Block Houses
Wright designed only four structures using the intricately patterned concrete blocks that he called textile blocks. They're all in Southern California: Ennis House, Storer House, Millard House / La Miniatura and the Freeman House.
Desert Rubble Construction
A style that originated in Arizona at Taliesin West, the desert rubble construction uses rough stones and concrete that are shaped with a wooden form.
Designed for middle-income families, these small, single-story houses featured an indoor-outdoor connection and were often built in an "L" shape: Hanna House (which is based on a hexagon), Sydney Bazett... House, Buehler House, Randall Fawcett House and the Kundert Medical Clinic in San Luis Obispo.
1909: George C. Stewart House
1917: Hollyhock House
1923: John Storer House
1923: Samuel Freeman House
1936: Hanna House
1939: Sidney Bazett House
1939: Sturges House
1948: V.C. Morris Gift Shop
1950: Arthur-Mathews House
1950: Wilbur C. Pearce House
1952: Anderton Court Shops
1955: Kundert Medical Clinic
1955: Randall Fawcett House
1955: Marin Civic Center
1957: Robert G. Walton House
1958: Dr. George Ablin House
1923 and 2001: Nakoma Clubhouse