Freeman House; Image © Liz Kuball
The University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture is putting the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Freeman House up for sale. Built in 1924 and named after the clients Samuel and Harriet Freeman, the Freeman House is one of four Wright homes in Los Angeles to include distinct concrete textile blocks along a Mayan Revival theme, the others being the Ennis House, Storer House, and Millard House. Both the Ennis House and Millard House have also been sold in recent years.
The Freeman House in 2008. Image: Wikimedia Commons user Los Angeles.
Set in the Hollywood Hills, the Freeman House measures almost 2,900 square feet, spanning two floors across a sloping site. Wright designed the house using an experimental system of over 12,000 concrete textile blocks inspired by Mayan temples, reinforced with steel to improve resiliency. Intersecting with the house’s strong horizontal emphasis is a series of double-height corner glazed windows overlooking an external patio, combining with perforations in the ornate blocks to bathe the interior salon in natural light.
Image via PICRYL
Wright was also responsible for the design of the home’s furniture along with fellow architect Rudolph Schindler. In 2012, a number of items originally designed for the home were stolen from an unmarked warehouse controlled by USC; a theft only reported in the media six years later.
Image via PICRYL
Harriet Freeman transferred the house’s ownership to the USC School of Architecture in 1986. In 1994, the Northridge earthquake significantly damaged the structure, rendering it uninhabitable. In 2000, a $1.5 million restoration program was initiated, which has since stalled. Nonetheless, USC describes the Freeman House as one of Wright’s “most interesting and enchanting small residences,” noting that the scheme marked a “major transition in Wright’s work and plays a clear role in the development of modern architecture in Southern California.”