Ennis House

Ennis House

Infobox_nrhp2 | name =Ennis House

caption =
location= 2607 Glendower Ave., Los Angeles, CA
lat_degrees = 34 | lat_minutes = 6 | lat_seconds = 57.71 | lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 118 | long_minutes = 17 | long_seconds = 30.13 | long_direction = W
area =
built =1924
architect= Frank Lloyd Wright
architecture= Modern Movement, Other
added = October 14, 1971cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
designated_other1_name = California Historic Landmark
designated_other1_date =
designated_other1_abbr = CHISL
designated_other1_link = List of California Historical Landmarks
designated_other1_number = 1011 [ [http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=21427 California Historic Landmarks - Los Angeles County] ]
designated_other1_color = #ffc94b

designated_other2_name = L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument
designated_other2_date = 03 Mar, 1976Citation | last = Los Angeles Department of City Planning | date = 2007-09-07 | title = Historic - Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments | place = | publisher = City of Los Angeles | edition = | url =http://www.cityprojectca.org/ourwork/documents/HCMDatabase090707.pdf | accessdate = 2008-06-03 ]
designated_other2_abbr = LAHCM
designated_other2_link = Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument
designated_other2_number = 149
designated_other2_color = #ffc94b

governing_body = Private
The Ennis House is a building located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, south of Griffith Park. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1923, and built in 1924.

Following "La Miniatura" aka Millard House (Pasadena) and the Storer and Freeman House (Hollywood), the building is the fourth and most monumental of buildings in northern Los Angeles constructed mostly of interlocking pre-cast concrete blocks (Wright's " textile block" style). Its design was based on ancient Mayan temples and along with other buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright (A.D. German Warehouse, Wisconsin and Hollyhock House, Hollywood), the Ennis House is sometimes referred to as an example of the Mayan Revival style. Its prominent detail is the relief ornament on its textile blocks, inspired by the symmetrical reliefs of Mayan buildings in Uxmal.

Large in size (10,000 square feet) the house consists of two buildings: the main house and a smaller chauffeur's apartment/garage to the west, separated by a paved motor courtyard. Unlike the vertical orientation of the other three block houses, the Ennis House has a long horizontal loggia spine on the northern side connecting public and private rooms to the south (kitchen, pantry, guestroom, dining room, living room, master bathroom and bedroom, upper terrace, second bathroom and bedroom at the eastern and lower end of the main building).


As costs escalated and difficulties developed during construction (supervised by Frank Lloyd Wright's son, Lloyd Wright), the owners took over after the superstructure reached the windows and carried out various changes, deviating from Wright's original design. In 1940, the house was sold to the media personality John Nesbitt, who had it altered by Wright, adding a north-terrace pool and ground-floor billiard room, as well as the first heating system for the building.

According to his widow, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, this was the only house that the late rock star Jim Morrison ever expressed an interest in owning.

Although originally and currently known as the Ennis House, the building was long known as the Ennis-Brown House. This became its name in 1980 when it was renamed in appreciation of its donation to the Trust for Preservation of Cultural Heritage by Augustus O. Brown (eighth owner from 1968–1980). In August 2005, the house was returned to its original name and the name of the Trust for Preservation of Cultural Heritage was changed to the Ennis House Foundation.

The Ennis House has been designated as a city, state, and national landmark. It is also on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2005 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.Even before its completion the Ennis House was marked by structural instability, concrete blocks had cracked and lower sections of the walls buckled under tension. The use of decomposed granite from the site to color the textile blocks introduced natural impurities to the concrete mix and combined with air pollution caused premature decay, attempts to apply a protective coating caused additional problems. More damage occurred from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and the record rainfall during the 2004-2005 rainy season. The Trust has estimated that it could cost $5 million just for stabilization costs, and $15 million for full restoration. After the rains the building was briefly red-tagged (no entry into the building) and as of late 2005 was still yellow-tagged (limited entry) with significant damage to the retaining wall at the southern rear of the building.

In 2006 a FEMA grant was issued as well as a $4.5 million construction loan through First Republic Bank which restarted restoration efforts. The project included a new structural support system, restoration/replacement of damaged blocks, restoration of windows and a new roof. Restoration was completed in 2007; however no announcement has been made regarding access to the public.

Use in film productions

The building's exotic properties made it an appealing filming location for Hollywood filmmakers, acquiring morbid fame providing the exterior facade for the "House on Haunted Hill", a 1959 B-movie. The 1975 film "The Day of the Locust" made extensive use of the house as a private residence, but it was not before 1982 and "Blade Runner" that the house gained a popularity of its own among movie spectators (even though only the main character's arrival at the motor court was actually shot at the Ennis House).

Sections of the cathedral-reminiscent interior, especially the elevated dining room with a fireplace opposite to a balcony facing the lower living room, have appeared in over a dozen films including "Black Rain", "Predator 2", "The Karate Kid, Part III" (revealing a view of downtown Los Angeles from the Ennis house), "The Thirteenth Floor" and "Rush Hour" (pretending to be a floor of a Hong Kong skyscraper). The house has also been used as a location for commercials, music videos, and fashion magazine shoots. It also appears as a mansion (facade only) occupied by Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla, beginning in the second season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This has furthered the morbid fame of the Ennis House, but stands in obvious contrast to what Frank Lloyd Wright had envisioned for the building. In a more neutral manner, the house was used in S Club 7's video for the single Have You Ever, which shows the bandmembers living an everyday life in the mansion.

Using tile casts of the squarish relief ornament, filmmakers have either created decorative elements (Club Silencio doorframe in "Mulholland Drive") or additional spaces on studio sets (Deckard's apartment in "Blade Runner"). In the case of "The Rocketeer" sections of the Ennis House were recreated in detail (including the patterned art glass) but rearranged on a studio set, adding an upper floor.

The Ennis House is also featured as the base of the Chinese gang in the South Park episode "Wing"

Because the Ennis House is situated in a densely populated neighborhood, tensions have arisen over the past years in regard to the streams of tourists, film production crews and the current restoration construction workers. As of 2007, the Ennis House is closed to public visitors.

Landmark status

* U.S. Department of the Interior in the National Register of Historic Places
*California State Historical Landmark
* City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument
*National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2005 list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

ee also

*List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles
*Storer House, Samuel Freeman House, and Millard House - Wright's other three textile block houses
*Hollyhock House


*cite web | |url=http://www.ennishouse.org/htmls/about.htm| | title=About The Ennis House Foundation| | accessmonthday=October 20 |accessyear=2005
*cite web | |url=http://web.archive.org/web/20050307023411/http://www.ennisbrownhouse.org/history/history_index.html| | title=Ennis-Brown House - History & Photographs| | accessmonthday=October 20 |accessyear=2005

External links

* [http://www.ennishouse.org/ Official website]
* [http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/western-region/ennis-brown-house.html 11 Most Endangered Historic Places of 2005 - Ennis House] from the National Trust for Historic Preservation
* [http://media.bladezone.com/contents/film/production/locations/ennis-brown/]
* [http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.ca0227 HABS record] 1 drawing and 5 scanned pages from the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), 1969
* [http://la.curbed.com/archives/2007/08/ennis_house_res.php] LA.Curbed.Com coverage, Ennis House Restoration Completed

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