Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles

Frank Lloyd Wright in California

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, L.A.
••• Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House. Barry Winiker / Getty Images

Although Grauman's Chinese Theatre and The Shops on Rodeo Drive are popular attractions in Los Angeles, Frank Lloyd Wright's Los Angeles Houses are also must-see gems in this famous metropolis. You can tour a couple of them. The rest are private homes not open to the public, but that won't stop you from driving by and getting a look at them from the street.

Your journey will be worth it and not just to see the houses themselves.

Some of them are perched atop the Hollywood Hills with magnificent views of the city below, sprawling toward the sea, and others are in an elegant area of Pasadena that any architecture lover will enjoy.

You can see all of Frank Lloyd Wright's Los Angeles houses in a well-planned day. If you only have a couple of hours to spare, I suggest doing it in this order of priority.

And if you love Frank Lloyd Wright as much as this architecture geek does, you may want to see more. You can find Wright houses and structures in the San Francisco area and more Wright sites in some of the oddest places in California

Hollyhock House

Named after the then owner's favorite plant, the Hollyhock House was one of the first open-plan designs to make the most of California's near-perfect weather. Wright designed this home for heiress Aline Barnsdall. This 36-acre plot was Wright's first commission in Los Angeles.

 

Hollyhock House was part of an artists' complex designed for heiress Aline Barnsdall. Today, it's recognized by the American Institute of Architects as one of the seventeen Wright buildings that are representative of his contribution to American culture. The main house is open for tours, but three buildings still stand on the site:  the main house, the garage and chauffeur's quarters, and the so-called Residence A, which was built for artists' living quarters.

 

Get an in-depth look at it and find out how to visit in this guide.

Anderton Court Shops

These shops are a little-known Wright design and not widely recognized as one of his better works. Its look is far from original, but you can still see hints of the towers he used in other structures. Today it is home to a few small offices and a salon. See it and check its slightly scandalous history here.

More Frank Lloyd Wright Sites in the Los Angeles Area

Everything else Wright in Los Angeles is not open for public visits. However, most of these structures can be seen from a respectful distance on the street or sidewalk.

As you make your way through the hills of Los Angeles, see if you can spot the similarities and differences among these famous Wright homes. Taken together, they are a perfect representation of Wright's architectural philosophy, with examples of almost every style except his earliest. You can tour them in a round trip in the order listed.

Ennis House: (2607 Glendower Ave, Los Angeles) This large and lovely home is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also a Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument and a California State Landmark. After some devastating damage and a long search for the right buyer, the house is under renovation.

After the project is complete, it will be open to the public a few days per year, but don't expect that to start soon.

Freeman House: (1962 Glencoe Way, Los Angeles) This house is one of three textile block houses Wright designed in the Hollywood Hills in the 1920s. It was built for two members of the Los Angeles avant-garde set. The Freeman House is not currently available for tours.

Storer House: (8161 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles) Hollywood is known for drama, and this house is no exception. Wright believed in designing structures that blended seamlessly into their surroundings, but this 3,000-square-foot house does anything but. 

Sturges House: (449 N. Skyewiay Rd., Brentwood Heights) This 1939 house was Wright's first Usonian-style structure on the West Coast. Unlike the Storer House, the Sturges House seems to grow out of the side of the hills.

It is similar in design to Wright's famous Fallingwater in southwest Pennsylvania.

Arch Oboler Gatehouse and Eleanor's Retreat: (32436 West Mulholland Highway, Malibu) It started as the grand, "Eaglefeather" project including a studio, house, stables and more. It ended with only a gatehouse and a small studio. Although the project ceased midway, it's the only example of desert rubblestone construction (the same style Wright used at Taliesin West) in southern California.

Millard House / La Miniatura: (645 Prospect Crescent, Pasadena) Wright was no stranger to textile block design when building this site. This property sits on an acre of gardens and offers beautiful views. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wilbur C. Pearce House: (5 Bradbury Hills Road, Bradbury) This house is a bit of mystery and nearly inaccessible, inside a gated community. It's listed as a Frank Lloyd Wright design but doesn't look quite right to me. And it's nearly impossible to get through the gates to see it unless you live there.