11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Ennis House

Year Listed: 2005
Location: Los Angeles, California
Threat: Deterioration, Natural Forces

Ennis
View of damage at Ennis House in 2005.

Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Significance

The grandest of Frank Lloyd Wright's "textile block" houses, the 1924 Ennis House combined the famed architect's longstanding interest in the sculptural qualities of concrete and his quest to design innovative buildings. Built of concrete blocks that incorporate material excavated at the building site, the house truly blends with its setting-but its unique design is so eye-catching that it has served as a backdrop for many fashion shoots and films, including 1974's Day of the Locust and 1982's Blade Runner. But time has not been kind to the landmark. A previous owner applied a sealant to the walls, trapping water inside that has rusted steel reinforcing bars and caused the blocks to crack and spall. In 1994, the Northridge earthquake led to the partial collapse of the south retaining wall, the chauffeur's quarters and the structural support for the dining room. Record rains in 2004 caused additional damage. The Ennis House was placed on the 11 Most Endangered list in 2005, which generated widespread publicity and support for saving the house.