That's Lloyd Wright, not Frank Lloyd Wright. Lloyd was Wright's son. He also designed sets for Hollywood films. Maybe that's what accounts for the cheesy armoured guards at the entrance.
The house is also famous as the home of Dr. George Hodel, a wealthy doctor who is believed by some to have killed Elizabeth Short, the famous Black Dahlia.
One of his accusers is his own son, former police detective Steve Hodel. Steve claims his dad was a sadist and a serial killer, and he lays out the case for that on his site (above). Short might even have been killed in the Sowden House.
Horrible though he might have been, you can't fault the doctor's taste in architecture. With the blocks stacked in geometric patterns, and with the exotic landscaping, the house looks like a majestic jungle ruin. Here's (above) the view from Franklin Ave.
This (above) is the facade, pre-landscape. Gee, it's not the same without the trees and shrubs. It reminds me of old Hollywood sets which were mostly blank punctuated by areas of great complexity.
I'll digress to lament that for people with average incomes landscaping is prohibitively expensive. Not only that but, beautiful trees take years to grow. For the first few years they don't seem to grow at all, because the tree is devoting all its energy into establishing a root system. It's as if you're planting for the benefit of the people who will own the house after you're gone.
Even so, it's still worth doing. You could argue that landscaping adds so much to the value of a house, that whatever you put into it is free.
The middle of the house (above) is a big, Mayan courtyard, covered with vines and flowers. I'll bet the original Mayans decorated their public buildings with foliage like this.
Here's (above) a view looking at the back of the courtyard. No vines here. Do vines grow so fast that you can cut them back in the winter, and still have them cover everything in the summer?
The swimming pool (a later modification) is raised, which is a nifty way to achieve scale.
Here's a detail of the molded concrete supports. If Lloyd's dad had built this he probably would have used blocks, which in my opinion wouldn't have worked as well.
As I said, Wright's son designed sets for the film industry. A number of films were shot here (above), one of the more recent being Scorcese's "Aviator."
Above, the master bedroom. The door it faces may be the big, barnsized, sliding door which opens out into the courtyard. If so, what a view to wake up to in the morning!
Here's (above) a detail of the living room.
This is the house (The two diamond shapes in the middle, above) seen from the air. The address is 5121 Franklin Ave, near Normandie and Franklin. There are no tours, but you can rent the place for a mere $3,900 a night.
NOTE: Most of the info here was culled from a fascinating new book called "Weird Hollywood," which I'm reading now.
The author's web site: http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/2010/11/