Spoiler alert: The real-life version of Bernard/Arnold’s home in Westworld is for sale, and it happens to be one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most hallowed and historic works of Southern California architecture.
The Mayan-style temple built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1924 almost entirely out of interlocking concrete blocks—also known as The Ennis House—sits on a hillside in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, and just hit the market after a $17 million renovation. (No doubt the HBO location shooting fees helped defray the cost, though that probably mattered little to the current owner—billionaire Ron Burkle, who purchased The Ennis House in 2011 from The Ennis House Foundation for $4.5 million after two years on the market.)
Like all FLW naturalist architecture, The Ennis House is designed to blend seamlessly into its surroundings: a 36,000 square foot plot of spectacular Southern California hills, ravines, and forests, with stunning panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles.
The 5,500 square foot Mayan- and adobe-inspired home was welcomed onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and is constructed of interlocking concrete blocks, each of which were pre-cast using molds with Mayan-style reliefs. As one would expect of the Arts & Crafts era, Frank Lloyd Wright’s fondness for stained glass windows, handcrafted mosaics and copper reliefs also feature prominently in many of the interior rooms. The entire structure sustained serious damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the torrential rains of 2005, but recently completed a $17 million restoration.
Built for retailers Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1924, The Ennis House rises in stages, with over 27,000 blocks arranged across a concrete platform and buttressed by a retaining wall, according to FrankLloydWright.org. Though concrete was still considered a new material in the 1920s, especially for home construction, Wright believed it had promising potential for affordable housing. He created a block construction system with patterned surfaces, which leant a unique textural appearance to both the exteriors and interiors of his residences. The concrete—a combination of gravel, granite, and sand from the site—was hand-cast in aluminum molds to create blocks measuring 16 x 16 x 3.5″, which were then woven together with steel rods, giving the textile block houses their name.
(Image credit: Kirk McKoy/Getty Images)
Apparently, when the architect completed The Ennis House he immediately considered it his favorite. Though it was his final and his most grand “Mayan Revival” home, Wright designed and built three others: La Miniatura in Pasadena; and the Storer and Freeman homes, both in the Hollywood Hills.
According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, The Ennis House has made more than 80 screen appearances in movies and television shows over the years—most recently in Westworld, but also iconically in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Bladerunner, Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills Cop II, Rush Hour, Predator 2, and The Rocketeer.
The property is currently listed for $23 million with Branden and Rayni Williams of Hilton & Hyland as well as Ron De Salvo at Coldwell Banker in Beverly Hills. Find out more about the property’s history at EnnisHouse.org and FrankLloydWright.org.
h/t Curbed LA