In the 1920s, Frank Lloyd Wright built a series of textile-block houses based on his pioneering organic architecture theory that buildings should be made of materials from their environments. The largest of these houses is the 1924 Ennis Brown House in the Hollywood Hills. Wright used decomposed granite from the site to form patterned concrete blocks, matching the color and texture of the surrounding hills. The ornamental detail of the concrete blocks and the organization of the house were designed to evoke a Maya palace and included 27 stained glass windows. In 1980, Augustus Brown donated the house to the newly created Trust for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. By the mid-1990s, preexisting material failures at the house were exacerbated by damage sustained from an earthquake in 1994 and later torrential rains that plagued Southern California. Although the house received substantial rehabilitation, continued stewardship was needed to secure the legacy of this historic twentieth-century home.
An outstanding example of the organic architecture theories Wright pioneered
Following the house’s inclusion on the World Monuments Watch in 2004 and 2006, the Ennis House Foundation was established to restore the famed dwelling. A first phase of stabilization and restoration work was completed in 2007, and the building’s emergency repairs were completed. Ennis House continued to have an uncertain future until it was purchased in 2011 by a private owner who made a commitment to maintain the house and its historic features.
Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most influential and innovative American architects and Ennis Brown House is an example of his genius. The richly patterned concrete blocks, designed exclusively for the house, are an outstanding example of the organic architecture theories Wright pioneered. The ornamental detail of the concrete blocks and the stained glass windows and doors are some of the last examples of this decorative form ever used by the architect. Listed on federal, state, and city historic property registries, the Ennis Brown House is also famous as a location for numerous television and film scenes including the 1982 Ridley Scott cult film Blade Runner.