Millard House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Millard House, 1923
Tristan Loper/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

This home in Pasadena is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most groundbreaking designs. Created in 1923 for rare book dealers George and Alice Millard, it was Wright's first attempt at modular building.

The house is most often called the Millard House, but it also has the name La Miniatura. 

La Miniatura is on three levels, with a double-height living room. It occupies 4,230 square feet and has four bedrooms, four baths, kitchen, living room and a formal dining room. A studio was added in 1926, designed by Wright's son Lloyd.

Mrs. Millard contributed a few elements to the design. Given Wright's tendency to resist others' inputs, we can only imagine the discussions that preceded including of an ornate fire screen, wooden doors and 18th-century Delft tiles in the bathrooms. 

Like many Wright projects, it overran its initial budget of $10,000, costing nearly $17,000 in the end. According to public records, it last sold in 2015 for $3.65 million.

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More About La Miniatura and More of California's Wright Sites

Textile Block Detail, Millard House
Tristan Loper/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Breaking away from his more traditional Prairie style houses and the beginning of the so-called "textile block" period. Wright challenged himself to do something with concrete, which he called “the cheapest (and ugliest) thing in the building world.” 

To make the concrete blocks for the Millard House, he used sand, gravel, and minerals found on the property and molded them into highly sculptured building blocks. Following his ideas of organic architecture, he also thought the earth-toned concrete would blend with the site its materials came from. The motif for the blocks is a modernized pre-Columbian design with a cross in the center and a square in each corner.

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What You Need to Know

Map to the Alice Millard House
Google Maps

The Alice Millard House is located at 645 Prospect Crescent in Pasadena, CA.

The house is a private residence and not open for tours. From the street, you can see and appreciate the textile blocks and part of the structure, but much of it is hidden behind fences and gates.

More of the Wright Sites

Millard House is one of nine Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures in the Los Angeles area. Wright designed only four California structures like the Millard House, using intricately patterned concrete "textile blocks." They're all in Southern California: Ennis HouseStorer House, and the Samuel Freeman House.

Wright's work isn't all in the Los Angeles area. The San Francisco area is also home to eight of them, including two of his most important works. You'll also find several houses, a church, and a medical clinic in some of the most unexpected places.

Don't be confused if you find more "Wright" sites in the LA area. Lloyd Wright (son of the famous Frank) also has an impressive portfolio that includes Wayfarers Chapel in Palos Verdes, the John Sowden House, and the original bandshell for the Hollywood Bowl.

More to See Nearby

The neighborhood near this house is full of Arts and Crafts-style homes which are a pleasure to see, and it's just a few blocks from the Greene and Greene masterpiece Gamble House.

If you're an architecture lover, check out famous Los Angeles houses that are open to the public, including Richard Neutra's VDL house, the Eames house (home of designers Charles and Ray Eames), and Pierre Koenig's Stahl House.

Other sites of particular architectural interest include the Disney Concert Hall and Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles, Richard Meier's Getty Center, the iconic Capitol Records Building, and Cesar Pelli's boldly colored geometric Pacific Design Center.