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dashing off

Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. (March 301890, Oak Park, IllinoisMay 311978, Santa Monica, California), commonly known as Lloyd Wright, was an American landscape architect and architect who did most of his work in Southern California.

His mother was Catherine Lee "Kitty" Tobin and he was fathered by, overshadowed by, and frequently is confused with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wright went to Michigan as a landscape architect. He had been trained by the Olmsted brothers. He worked at the Panama-California Exposition (1915), which also is known as the San Diego World's Fair of 1915.

In the mid-1910s, his father delegated to him some of the responsibilities for designing the Hollyhock House for Aline Barnsdall in Hollywood, California along with Rudolf Schindler. This was the second California project built by the elder Wright. Later, Lloyd Wright would supervise the 1946 renovation of the Hollyhock House, when it was converted into a USO facility.

In 1924 he served as his father's construction manager for three simultaneous, and difficult, Los Angeles-area projects. Wright helped in the development of the distinctive concrete textile-blocks used on those structures: the Storer House, the Ennis House, and the Freeman House. Lloyd Wright shuttled among the three sites with equipment and materials, dashing off telegrams to his father as crisis followed crisis, but receiving no real constructive support or suggestions from Taliesin.

Wright designed and built a number of houses in Hollywood in the late 1920s: a house for the manager of silent film star Ramon Novarro and a subsequent renovation and enlargement when the Novarro acquired the house, the Taggart House, the Mayan-looking Sowden House that is often stated to be his best work, and Wight's own studio-residence in West Hollywood.

His most famous solo work probably is the 1951 Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes. All of these structures reveal his training as a landscape architect. The most prominent feature of the chapel, for instance, is the bower of redwood trees that is integral to the effect of the building.

He also is well-known as the designer of the second and third shells at Hollywood Bowl. The original shell, built by a group known as the Allied Architects as part of the 1926 regrade of the Bowl, was considered unacceptable both visually and acoustically. Wright's 1927 shell had a pyramidal shape and a design reminiscent of southwest American Indian architecture. (According to Charles Moore, it was a leftover from Wright's sets for the silent film version of Robin Hood.) Its acoustics generally were regarded as the best of any shell in Bowl history, but its appearance was considered too avant-garde for its time, or perhaps only ugly, and it was demolished at the end of the season. His 1928 shell had the now-familiar concentric ring motif, but it was made of wood, covered a 120-degree arc, and was designed to be easily dismantled and stored between seasons. It was left out in the rain after one season, and rotted, making way for the 1929 Allied Architects shell, which stood until the end of the 2003 season.

The largest collection of Lloyd Wright buildings is the 1946 Institute for Mental Physics in Palm Springs, California. Among his later projects was a shopping center at the corner of Warner and Springdale in Huntington Beach in 1970.

Helen Taggart and Lloyd Wright were the parents of architect Eric Lloyd Wright.

Notes

  • Obituary, Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1978, p. D1

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