Architecture fans are in for a treat at the Hollyhock House, the dramatic first Los Angeles project from American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The building's unusual features and curious details are must-sees at the Barnsdall Art Park, a museum and art complex in LA's Los Feliz neighborhood.
Set atop Olive Hill and described as a medieval or Mayan castle, the blocky stone, 17-room mansion is known as one of Wright's more unusual works. The house was designed in 1917 (and completed in 1921) for eccentric oil heiress Aline Barnsdall as a private home and headquarters for her pet project, an avant-garde theater company. It's said Barnsdall lost interest in the house; she never lived in it and donated the space plus 11 surrounding acres to the city of Los Angeles in 1927.
The Barnsdell Art Park, fashioned from the land gift, contains green space; the house-museum (with a visitor's center and gift shop in the garage); the rotating exhibits of the neighboring Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery also housed in Frank Lloyd Wright buildings; and a modest theater.
The Barnsdall Art Park is open daily from 6am to 10pm, while the Hollyhock House is open Thursday through Sunday from 11am to 4pm (with last entrance at 3:30pm). Admission to the house costs $7 for adults and $3 for seniors and students, while children enter for free with a paying adult. Most tours are self-guided, though docent-led tours are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 or 11am with advance reservation. The home is accessible via the Sunset/Vermont Metro Red Line stop.