In an effort to improve access for disabled persons, the City of Los Angeles is looking to create a virtual reality tour for the historic Hollyhock House.
Completed in 1921 as the home of Aline Barnsdall, the Hollyhock House is noted as the first Los Angeles building designed by the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It now stands as the centerpiece of Barnsdall Art Park, a hilly 36-acre expanse in the heart of East Hollywood.
As the house predates adoption of the American with Disabilities Act by nearly seven decades, many parts of the Mayan Revival building are inaccessible to those with disabilities. The property's National Historic Landmark status further complicates the issue, as it is illegal to physically retrofit the house for ADA compliance. Thus, the City has turned to a more creative solution.
The virtual reality tour would be made accessible on-site and remotely through a web browser. According to the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, this would increase accessibility to the Hollyhock House by 210 percent, potentially leading to an increase in on-site visitors and ticket sales. The Department hopes that this increased visibility would improve the property's chances of receiving UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, which is currently under consideration.
The project would be funded by $133,000 from the City's 2016-17 Innovation Fund, and could lead to the creation of similar virtual reality tours for other Los Angeles facilities. The issue has been referred to the City Council's Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee, and requires approval from both the full Council and the Mayor's office.
- Virtual Reality Accessibility Project (City of Los Angeles)