MAK Center Hosts: Ennis and Sowden House Tours + Reception

  • Event
  • Fundraiser
  • Tour


The MAK Center for Art and Architecture hosted a very special event featuring two iconic Southern California architecture masterpieces: The Ennis House (1924) by Frank Lloyd Wright and the John Sowden House (1926) by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.

Ennis House: The rare opportunity to tour this legendary home. 

Sowden House: A natural venue for decadence and discourse, we invited guests to an exclusive salon featuring food, drinks, and entertainment integral to the Sowden House and its storied history. Attendees enjoyed a live set by DJ Victoria O’Hanlon and a brief introduction on the Sowden House with Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles’ first Chief Design Officer.


The Ennis House:
Perched atop a hill in Los Feliz, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House is the epitome residential example of Mayan Revival architecture. 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 lent 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 that were then woven together with steel rods, giving the textile block houses their name. The Ennis House is unusually monumental and vertical for a Wright residence, but when the architect completed it in 1924 he immediately considered it a favorite.

As with all of Wright’s textile block residences, the Ennis House featured a custom-designed pattern, rendering it instantly iconic and recognizable. Due to its signature exoticism, the house has served as the backdrop in numerous films and TV shows including Mulholland Drive, The Rocketeer, Rush Hour, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Predator 2, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Replacement Killers, and, of course, Blade Runner.

The Sowden House:
The Sowden House was designed by Lloyd Wright Jr. for his friends John and Ruth Sowden. Artists and active members of the Hollywood film scene, the Sowdens wanted a house that would accommodate lavish parties and entertaining and encouraged Wright to create the perfect backdrop. Wright had been designing sets for Paramount Studios at the time and readily indulged their desire for the theatrical.

Much like the Ennis House, the Sowden features hand-cast concrete, emblazoned with images of the harvest, water, clouds, and sun. These concrete blocks are stacked in homage to ancient Mayan pyramids, arranged in a pillared courtyard closely resembling specific Mayan temples in Yucatán like the Sayil, and Uxmal.

Special Thanks To:
Mr. Ron Burkle; Ms. Jenny Landers and Mr. Dan Goldfarb, for their generous contribution.