The Hollyhock House was the first house Frank Lloyd Wright designed in Los Angeles, part of a performing arts complex commissioned in the early 1920s by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall for an incredible 36-acre hilltop site on the Hollywood/Los Feliz border, but Wright was often away during construction, working on the Imperial Hotel in Japan, and building was mostly overseen by project manager Rudolph Schindler. The house contains the "germination of what I think you can easily say became California Modernism," says Hollyhock curator Jeffrey Herr.
But costs got out of control, Barnsdall fired Wright (and eventually hired Schindler), and she never moved into the house, which had been designed around the icon of her favorite flower, the Hollyhock. In 1927, she donated the property, with the surrounding 12 acres, to the city of Los Angeles, and over the decades since it was deformed over and over by bad renovations and general entropy. (Lloyd Wright oversaw two renovations, on in 1946 and one in the unfortunate design year of 1974.) But, following years of closure, the Hollyhock reopens this afternoon with a beautiful, painstaking restoration that has brought many of its public spaces back to their 1921 magnificence.