Lloyd Wright | Los Angeles Conservancy

Lloyd Wright

Lloyd Wright, 1927. Herald-Examiner Collection/Los Angeles Public Library.

Lloyd Wright (1890-1978)

As an architect, Lloyd Wright couldn’t have been under a longer shadow. Yet the son of the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright was highly accomplished in his own right, designing some of Southern California’s most innovative structures and landscapes. 

Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. was born in 1890 and spent his early years in Oak Park, Illinois, and Spring Green, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison for two years, then traveled extensively through Europe after his father moved to Italy in 1909. 

In 1911, the younger Wright joined the great landscape firm Olmsted and Olmsted in Boston. He transferred to San Diego later that year to work at the Olmsted nursery created for the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition. The assignment brought him to Southern California, where he would remain the rest of his life. 

The San Diego move also connected him with Irving Gill, one of the first modern architects in California, who later hired him. Wright designed much of the original landscape for the City of Torrance, which was planned jointly by Gill and the Olmsted firm (see Gill’s Preservation Award-winning Pacific-Electric – El Prado Bridge). 

In the mid-1910s, Wright formed a landscape partnership with Paul Thiene, a colleague from the Olmsted firm, before opening his own practice in 1916. He urged his father to come to Los Angeles and helped with some of his local projects, including supervising site work for Hollyhock House and the planting of Olive Hill (East Hollywood, 1922). 

Lloyd Wright’s independent designs showed the clear influence of his father while introducing new ideas. The younger Wright designed several homes using his approach to the “textile block” system, including the Sowden House (Los Feliz, 1926) and Samuel-Novarro House (Hollywood, 1928). 

Hallmarks of Wright’s work include bold, soaring forms; unusual colors and materials; careful siting; and of course, integrated landscape. Influences on his work included his lifelong love of music (he played cello) and a flair for theatricality he honed as a set designer for Paramount Studios in the teens.

Perhaps his best-known work is Wayfarer’s Chapel (Rancho Palos Verdes, 1951). He also designed the first two shells of the Hollywood Bowl (1927, 1928), as well as two garden apartment communities in Boyle Heights: Aliso Village (1940, now demolished) and Ramona Gardens (1942).

Lloyd Wright died in 1978 at the age of 88. While some of his important work has been lost—including his stunning Moore House (Palos Verdes, 1956; demolished 2012)—much of his legacy remains. The Conservancy holds a conservation easement on his own former home and studio

Lloyd’s son, Eric Lloyd Wright, is also a renowned architect who has worked actively for many years to preserve his family’s legacy. 

Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Gainsburg House

In the foothills below the Angeles National Forest lies a geometrical wonder.
Photo by Flora Chou/L.A. Conservancy
Photo by Flora Chou/L.A. Conservancy

Bowler House

This striking, Mid-Century Modern design incorporates many of the hallmarks that defined Frank Lloyd Wright's signature style.
Lloyd Wright Studio-Residence
Photo from Conservancy archives

Lloyd Wright Studio-Residence

Designed by noted architect Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, this personal studio and residence allowed him to oversee construction of his father's projects and develop his own practice.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Wayfarers Chapel

This iconic chapel is a one-of-a-kind expression of Organic Modern architecture.
Ennis House
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Ennis House

The last and largest of Frank Lloyd Wright’s four “textile block” houses was designed by the father and built by the famed architect's son Lloyd.
Photo by L.A. Conservancy

Lombardi House

Exuberant rooflines and an especially flamboyant residential design seemingly drawn from the commercial Googie style testify to the architect's innovations in Mid-Century Modern design.
Photo by Stephen Russo

Moore House (Demolished)

A striking example of modernism in a city dominated by Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean Revival homes, the design was nearly rejected by Palos Verdes Estates.
Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Samuel-Novarro Residence

During the 1930s, gay silent film star Ramon Novarro lived in this dramatic Lloyd Wright-designed hillside residence.
Photo by Michael Locke

Sowden House

The Sowden House with its distinctive entry and patterned concrete block facade was designed by noted architect Lloyd Wright.