While it may have looked like a partly crumbling old building in its appearance in 1982’s Blade Runner, real life Los Angeles landmark and sometimes movie location, The Ennis House, has not weathering the passage of time well and is now in need of $10 million dollars in repair and restoration work.
The Ennis House, designed by preeminent architect Frank Lloyd Wright, has been used as a location in various films over the years. It served as Harrison Ford’s home in Blade Runner. It was also featured as the titular House On Haunted Hill in the 1959 film where Vincent Price made an offer of $10,000 to anyone who could last the night the reputedly haunted mansion. The Ennis House has also appeared in such films as Day Of The Locust (1975), Black Rain (1989), Predator 2 (1990), The Rocketeer (1991) and The Replacement Killers (1998).
Built on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory and much of the Los Angeles basin in 1924, The Ennis is not only a strong example of Wright’s design work, but of his love of experimenting with the building materials used in his designs. In the case of the Ennis, Wright employed a system of concrete blocks cast with ornamental designs on the exposed surfaces and held together with mortar and steel reinforcing. Because of the ornamental designs in the blocks, they not only hold up the structures floors and roof, they are also its finishing materials, exposing them to the elements. Such exposure caused them to wear and crumble much faster than normally expected.
By 2005, earthquakes and rain had weakened the building’s foundation to the point where there was a strong concern that it could tumble and slide down from its hilltop perch and the building was closed.
The building is now owned by the Ennis House Foundation, a private conservancy that has already stabilized it. However, they feel that there is an estimated $10 million in repair work left to restore the Ennis to its former glory.
Via The Boston Globe