Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Taliesin Fellowship (firm); Frank Lloyd Wright (architect)

Dates: constructed 1938-1939

2 stories, total floor area: 870 sq. ft.

449 North Skyeway Road
Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA 90049-2844

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The Sturges House occupied 441-449 North Skyway Road.


The tiny Sturges House, containing only 870 square feet, utilized an open interior plan and a large, wraparound balcony to extend living space. Perched on a hill, architect Frank Lloyd Wright wrapped the building in shiplapped redwood siding. While it still had a rusticity, it also had a simultaneous air of modernity. seen especially well in photos of the house shot from below. The Sturges House, with its balcony cantilevered over space, appears to hover like a flying saucer, its geometric elements floating in space in the best Modernist tradition. Photos of the Sturges house seen from below became iconic, adding evidence of Wright's creative resurgence during the 1930s. It became one of Wright's best publicized houses of the 1930s.

Building Notes

The critic Charles Jencks wrote poetically of the Sturges House: "Enigmatic, apparently windowless (they are protected behind the balcony), with very low ceiling and tight spaces that flow together, it makes an expressive fact out of cheap construction. Some may find it awkwardand aggressive, like the formalism of the sixties which it has perhaps influenced, but it's still quite a feat given the small budget: a lonely ship ploughing through the ivy and euclyptus of upper class Brentwood Heights." (See Charles Jencks, Kings of Infinite Space, [London: Academy Editions, 1983], p. 48.)

Wright designed all of the angular plywood furniture for the Sturges House's interior. His designs frankly reflected the most gometrically-pure Art Deco designs of the 1920s.

The San Francisco architect William W. Wurster (1895-1973) visited the Sturges House while on a trip to Southern CA.

Los Angeles County Historic-Cultural Monument: 577

PCAD id: 586