04 April 2011

Rick Deckard's Apartment Woes

Frank Lloyd Wright's 1924 Ennis-Brown House is having a rough time. Fresh off of a costly renovation to repair the eroding structure thanks to a 2006 FEMA grant and a $4.5 million loan, the Ennis House Foundation decided that the famous Los Feliz structure would be best served by a private owner's care and resources (the Los Angeles Times estimated an additional investment of $5-$7 million would be needed to restore the house complete) - and not as a public access tourist destination. Thus in mid-2009, the house officially went on the market at an asking price of $15 million. Since then it's been slashed a number of times, and on Friday, CurbedLA reported that the price had dropped once more to $5.999 million.

Julius Shulman Photograph

As one of only four FLW textile block houses and the site of Rick Deckard's apartment, it must be surprising that it hasn't been scooped up yet by some architecture fanatic or Blade Runner fanboy.

Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott) 

Thom Anderson chronicles the pop history of the Ennis House in Los Angeles Plays Itself. It has played "a 19th century house, a contemporary mansion, a 21st century apartment building, and a 26th century science lab." Blade Runner and The Rocketeer aside, my favorite use of the house is as a location in David Lynch's absurd "Author Series" ads for Calvin Klein's Obsession perfume.


The Ennis House goes well with melodramatic readings of D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love.

But regardless of the low and highbrow interpretations of the house and its place on the pop culture register, the fact remains that it has yet to sell. After almost two years on the market, continued price cutting, rumors of being moved to Japan, wtf suggestions by Diane Keaton that perhaps Brad Pitt should buy it, I wonder why they can't revisit the concept of making the iconic house a museum like the Hollyhock House. At what point is it just embarrassing to leave it up for sale?

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