Hollywood Local News

UNESCO recognizes Hollyhock House architecture

LOS ANGELES — Hollyhock House, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1921 modernist creation at Barnsdall Art Park in East Hollywood, was named a UNESCO World Heritage site July 7, the first time modern American architecture has been recognized by the United Nations cultural organization.

The Hollyhock site is among eight works by Wright that shared the designation. The others are Unity Temple (1909, Oak Park, Illinois), the Frederick C. Robie House (1910, Chicago), Taliesin (1911, Spring Green, Wisconsin), the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House (1937, Madison, Wisconsin), Taliesin West (1938, Scottsdale, Arizona) Fallingwater (1939, Pennsylvania), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1959, New York).

“This designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site underscores the significance of Los Angeles’ rich history of modern architecture,” City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House is a beloved masterpiece locally, and now a treasure world-wide.”

“The inscription of this nomination marks the first modern architectural cultural property designation not only in California, but the United States. It has been a pleasure working with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and all parties in our efforts to preserve and restore the priceless cultural resources at Barnsdall Art Park — and our work continues.

“We are grateful to the National Park Service for recognizing that our collaboration here at home enhanced this serial nomination,” O’Farrell added.

The building was constructed between 1919 and 1921 for oil heiress Louise Aline Barnsdall, who donated it to the city in 1927. It is now owned by the city of Los Angeles and operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs as part of the art park, which also includes a gallery, theater, and year-round art classes.

The house was reopened to the public in 2015 after a three-year restoration.

The World Heritage Committee announced the new additions to the list at its meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. The honor does not include any funding for preservation efforts, but will likely result in a higher profile and greater tourist traffic.

“These sites are the best of the best, and who wouldn’t want to part of that club?” said Lynda Waggoner, a former director at Fallingwater, who led the team that submitted the buildings for review. “They hold what is called by UNESCO ‘outstanding universal value’ — value that transcends national borders and is important to all of humanity.”

There are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world, but only 24 in the United States.