One hun­dred and fifty years af­ter his birth, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan gifts to LA live on.

Los Angeles Confidential - - Contents - BY MURAT OZTASKIN

From pi­bil tacos to spring break in Cancún, Los An­ge­les owes much of its cur­rent “cul­ture” to Mex­ico. But lesser-known, pre-Columbian odes to our part­ner south of the bor­der take sur­pris­ing forms: some of LA’s most en­dur­ing homes, de­signed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright, the god­fa­ther of 20th-cen­tury Amer­i­can ar­chi­tec­ture who cel­e­brates his sesqui­cen­ten­nial this year. In LA, Wright was a pi­o­neer of the Mayan Re­vival style— which took its in­spi­ra­tion from Mayan ar­chi­tec­ture, build­ing de­sign, and iconog­ra­phy—dur­ing the move­ment’s global Art Deco surge. In­deed, Wright’s most fa­mous homes in LA—the Hol­ly­hock House (1921), En­nis House (1924), and Mil­lard House (1924)—are among the most oft-cited ex­am­ples of Mayan Re­vival at its height, with En­nis House, in­side and out, be­ing one of the style’s mas­ter­works.

Wright’s homes sparked a Re­vival thrall in the city in the ’20s, with the Mayan The­atre (now, per­haps too pre­dictably, The Mayan night­club) open­ing in 1927 and Wright’s own ar­chi­tect son Lloyd Wright tak­ing a cue from dad and de­sign­ing the Mayan-in­flu­enced John Sowden House, in Los Feliz, the year prior. While the Mayan craze also hit Den­ver, Detroit, Mex­ico, and even Ja­pan (with many of the style’s prom­i­nent ex­am­ples de­signed by Wright dis­ci­ples), LA nur­tured its “new” and novel el­e­gance like no other place. Fos­ter­ing the cut­ting-edge—then as now.

A Na­tional His­toric Land­mark, and per­haps the most fa­mous piece of res­i­den­tial de­sign in LA, Wright’s Hol­ly­hock House (here and above) was the first of his Mayan Re­vival homes.

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