Dining with Frank Lloyd Wright / by Cora Neil

Overlooking Hollywood & Highland, a remnant of architectural history sits patiently for a return to glory. The Freeman House was built in 1923 by Frank Lloyd Wright for Samuel & Harriet Freeman. They lived in the house for 60 years before Harriet arranged for the house to be given to the USC School of Architecture. The years have not been kind to this once beloved home: the Northridge earthquake and the Los Angeles pollution have severely damaged the concrete textile blocks that make up the structure of the monolithic home.

Last week, some friends that were taking care of the house invited Matt and I for dinner. We enjoyed some good food and a glass of wine while the view—framed by the corner windows and small openings in the textile blocks—poured in.  It felt as if we were breathing life back into the house just as much as the reinforced concrete that has been added to shore up the foundation.

The gardens were originally designed by Wright's’ son, Lloyd Wright, and judging by the size of some of the euphorbia still on the grounds, I imagine they might be part of that original landscape. I mistook the gnarled and woody trunk of a pencil cactus in the corner of the lot for an oak tree at first glance. These massive plants made me think about nature's resilience. In 90 some years, a block of concrete is more fragile than the adaptive nature of these plants.