To forestall any future rain damage to the architectural landmark, illuminated "rain canopies" are to be constructed above the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis-Brown House in Los Feliz.
The 1924 home, a concrete compound that has been used as a location for numerous Hollywood films, including "Blade Runner," has a history of structural problems and suffered major damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The house was red-tagged late last month because of ground instability caused by heavy rainstorms.
Officials declared the house uninhabitable after determining that rain had weakened the home's massive, Maya-inspired retaining wall. Inspectors estimated that water and mud had caused at least $500,000 in damage.
Eric Lloyd Wright & Wiehle-Carr Associated Architects, the firm in charge of the planned rehabilitation of the home, has assembled a construction team to install a system of water resistant canopies that will act as umbrellas to protect Wright's fragile textile-block construction.
The architecture firm and an assembled group of companies will be donating materials and services for the canopy installation, estimated to cost $150,000. The gift will go to the Trust for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, a nonprofit organization acting as caretaker of the house.
The canopy will be lighted to glow at night in what project manager and firm partner Christopher Carr calls "a beacon for the city." The architect hopes that the canopy installation will jump-start the stalled rehabilitation project, which requires additional fundraising to fill the gap between available FEMA funds earmarked after the Northridge quake and what is needed for completion.
"The canopies will light up so in the evening this house that is so dramatic to begin with will be a beacon for the city and will help kick off further fundraising for the house," Carr added. "We felt we would light a fire here and protect the house at the same time."