Tuesday, October 6, 2009

THINGS that go BUMP in the WRIGHT...

by Ashley Takacs, Arts & Entertainment

Wright’s personal life was as dramatic (and full of twists) as the spiral of his Guggenheim Museum. Like any Byronic hero or brooding genius, Wright’s life was infused with a level of mystery and spectacle fit for literary adaptation. Look no further than your local Barnes and Noble (or better yet, the Wisteria Shop) for proof of that -- Loving Frank and Death in a Prairie House were both inspired by Wright’s life.

While Wright’s persona has been known to overshadow his architecture, his designs have also sparked the imaginations of writers and filmmakers. The Robie House spawned a mystery-adventure children's novel – The Wright 3 – and the Ennis House in Los Angeles has served as the location for over 20 films and television shows, including the dystopic noir Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982), the cult hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Joss Whedon, 1997-2003) and the 1959 Vincent Price classic, House on Haunted Hill. With its prime location in the Los Angeles hills, the Ennis house site is a logical choice for filmmakers. But it's the design of Ennis that makes this residence ideal for science fiction and thriller film genres. These narratives revolve around constructing an alternate reality, and with it’s mash-up of different cultures and eras, the Ennis House does just that. The imposing, temple-like façade and "textile" blocks reference Ancient Mayan buildings in a decidedly modern structure (the blocks are precast concrete -- a 20th century invention). This meeting of two worlds gives the house an uncanny, mystical aesthetic that sets it apart from the many other modernist homes that dot “the Hills.”

One look at the building on it’s dramatic perch overlooking Hollywood, and it is easy to see why the Ennis house has long fueled the creative minds of generations of filmmakers.

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