Ennis House

The Ennis House is a residential dwelling in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA, south of Griffith Park. The home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Charles and Mabel Ennis in 1923, and built in 1924.

Following La Miniatura in Pasadena, and the Storer- and Freeman-houses in the Hollywood Hills, the structure is the fourth and largest of Wright's textile block designs, constructed primarily of interlocking pre-cast concrete block, in northern Los Angeles.

The design is based on ancient Mayan temples and along with other buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, such as the A. D. German Warehouse in Wisconsin and Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House in Hollywood, the Ennis House is sometimes referred to as an example of the Mayan Revival architecture. Its prominent detail is the relief ornamentation on its textile blocks, inspired by the symmetrical reliefs of Mayan buildings in Uxmal.

The Ennis House is a designated city, state, and national landmark.

Costs escalated due to 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.

The house consists of two buildings, the main house and a smaller chauffeur's apartment/garage, separated by a paved 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, and is very large at 10,000 sq ft (930 m 2). The kitchen, pantry, guestroom, dining room, living room, master bathroom and bedroom, upper terrace, second bathroom and bedroom are at the eastern and lower end of the main building.

In 1940 the house was sold to media personality John Nesbitt who had it altered by Wright, adding a pool on the north terrace, a billiard room on the ground floor, and a heating system.

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, the eighth owner from 1968–1980. In August 2005, the house was returned to its original name and the Trust for Preservation of Cultural Heritage was renamed the Ennis House Foundation.

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 due to the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and the record precipitation during the 2004-2005 rainy season. The Ennis House Foundation had estimated that it could cost US$5 million just for stabilization costs, and US$15 million for full restoration. After the rains the building was briefly red-tagged as "no entry" but was down graded to yellow- for limited entry by late 2005. At that point significant damage to the retaining wall at the southern rear of the building remained. In 2005 the house was added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of the "11 Most Endangered Historic Places".

In 2006 a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant was issued, as well as a US$4.5 million construction loan through First Republic Bank, which restarted restoration efforts. The project included a new structural support system, restoration or replacement of damaged blocks, restoration of windows, and a new roof. Restoration work was completed in 2007 at a cost of nearly US$6.4 million. No announcement was made regarding access by the public and the Ennis House remains closed to public visitors.

On June 19, 2009 the Ennis House Foundation announced that the house was being offered for sale with an asking price of US$15,000,000. After being on the market for more than a year the house still has no buyer. Recently the price has been slashed in half to $7.495M.

The building's exotic design made it an appealing location for Hollywood filmmakers.

Although used as a shooting location as early as 1933 ( Female ), the house first acquired 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 in 1982'sBlade Runner that the house gained a popularity of its own among moviegoers, even though only the main character's arrival at the motor court was actually shot at the Ennis House. Its exterior also appears as "The Mansion" occupied by Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sections of the cathedral reminiscent interior, especially the elevated dining room and fireplace, have appeared in over a dozen films including The Karate Kid, Part III revealing the view of downtown Los Angeles, Black Rain , The Glimmer Man , The Replacement Killers , Rush Hour substituting for a floor of a Hong Kong skyscraper, and The Thirteenth Floor .

The house has also been used as a location for commercials, fashion magazine shoots and music videos, including 3T's " Why" featuring Michael Jackson. S Club 7's video for the single " Have You Ever" shows the band members living an everyday life in the house.

Impressed by the house, filmmakers either recreated original elements of the Ennis House on sound stage sets or vaguely imitated these as inPredator 2 . After shooting the exterior scene on location for Blade Runner the interior of Deckard's apartment was created at Warner Brothers. In the case of The Rocketeer sections of the Ennis House were recreated in detail, including the patterned art glass, on a studio set. The Rocketeer went as far as adding an upper floor. On a smaller scale, tile casts of the block relief ornamentation were used for the Club Silencio doorframe in Mulholland Drive .

A cartoon representation is featured in South Park as the base of a Chinese gang in the episode "Wing", satirizing the popular association of the Ennis House with criminal and/or Asian characters in films.

Because the house is situated in a densely populated neighborhood tensions have arisen over the years in regard to film production crews, as well as the streams of tourists and restoration construction workers.

The house was included as one of the top ten houses of all time in Los Angeles Times, in a survey of experts in December 2008, and is listed on the Department of the Interior, National Register of Historic Places, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation list of Endangered Historic Places, and is a designated California Historical Landmark, and a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument


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