Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Why his Los Angeles houses deserve a closer look
In January 1923, Frank Lloyd Wright moved into an office at 8228 Fountain Ave., in what is now West Hollywood. He had finished one house in Los Angeles, for the oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. He would soon be working on four more, along with an ambitious project called Doheny Ranch, a subdivision of 25 houses in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Los Angeles was booming; the city’s population, 577,000 in 1920, would reach 1.2 million by the end of the decade. At 55, Wright — a man whose life and career had been intimately bound up with the American Midwest, and Chicago in particular — was ready to reinvent himself as a West Coast architect.
Before 1923 was over, Wright had given up on Los Angeles. The Doheny plans never got off the drawing board. Wright feuded bitterly with his son, Lloyd Wright, an architect who helped build many of his L.A. houses. Barnsdall was already planning to move out of her house and donate it to the city of Los Angeles.
Wright packed up the Fountain Avenue office. He moved back to Wisconsin, the state where he was born 150 years ago Thursday — on June 8, 1867.