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A Guide to the Lesser-Known Modernist Ruins of Barnsdall Park

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The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park is getting restored (again, more, in perpetuity), but Barnsdall is actually full of lesser-known and even more-neglected structures and oddities, including buildings by modernist starchitects Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra. The property was originally developed by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall in the 1920s--she asked FLW to create "a site plan based on the gridded spacing of the existing olive grove's 1225 trees," according to the Cultural Landscape Foundation; he designed the Hollyhock and encircled it with a ring road that links it up with the ancillary buildings. Barnsdall donated the whole thing to the city in 1927. The Metro Day Pass blog visited recently (the park is quite Metro-accessible!) and gives a tour of those less-high-profile buildings:

Residence A: This artist "roost" was designed by Schindler (with FLW's supervision), and it's the first building you'll see walking up from Hollywood Boulevard. It "now has boarded up windows, peeling paint, and thin cracks along its exterior walls. There was once a second 'B' Residence done in a similar Prairie style, that was razed during the 1950s."

Spring House: The little building (once used for refrigeration) sits on the southeastern slop of the park by the Junior Arts Center and "now partially functions as a shelf, decorated with potted plants."

Schindler Terrace: The terrace, also on the southeastern slope, was built by Schindler in 1925, with help from Neutra. It "once had a pergola above a children's wading pool on its north end, and a semicircular bench with a central fountain on its south," but is now primarily graffitied rubble.

Garage/animal cages: The garage sits on the northern slope and once housed chauffeur's quarters--this building is now being renovated to house a climate-controlled archive and visitor's center. More importantly, though, the garage is hooked up to the main house via "a pergola-like structure containing 15 animal enclosures and a storage unit. No one is certain what types of animals were kept in these cages, but anecdotal evidence suggest there was a petting zoo on site in the late 1920's." According to Big Orange Landmarks, "They didn't serve that purpose very long, and according to an onsite docent, only four of the sections were ever used, although one did hold a llama."

Barnsdall Art Park

4804 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027