News and updates from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arch Oboler Complex Appears Gutted by California Fire

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Nov 28, 2018

The status of the home has not been confirmed, but it appears—in an aerial view of the destruction—the Malibu, California, residence has been gutted by the Woolsey fire.


DECEMBER 5, 2018

Friend of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and native California Wright-aficionado, Stan Ecklund, made a trek up to the Oboler Complex this week. He sent these photos which, sadly, confirm the destruction suspected in the original post.

The Arch Oboler Complex was a partial realization of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1940 design for “Eaglefeather,” a residence that included a gate cottage and stable, and a retreat for Mrs. Eleanor Oboler, both of which were built. “The materials are stone, fashioned in the same manner as Taliesin West, and wood siding,” Bruce Brooks Pfieffer wrote in volume II of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Complete Work.

Photo by Stan Ecklund.

The gate house, originally made of two sections, consisted of a living room, workspace, bedroom, bathroom, stack room, carports, and stalls for horses. Later, the Obolers made this space their full-time residence, and additions—unsupervised by Wright—were built onto the space.

The other building on the complex, known as “Eleanor’s Retreat,” is a small, square getaway cottage, with detailing resembling that planned for Eaglefeather. Both buildings appear to have been gutted by the fire.

Photo by Stan Ecklund.

Photo by Stan Ecklund.

While the loss of any Frank Lloyd Wright structure is a tragedy, it pales in comparison to the loss of lives and the devastation these communities have suffered in the fires. Our thoughts are with all of the families who have suffered devastating losses during this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as we get them.