This video begins with partial footage of an unrelated panel discussion hosted by Shelly Kappe with guests Thornton Abell, Harwell Hamilton Harris, Gregory Ain, and Raphael Soriano. Ray Kappe gives a lecture on his personal practice and how it was started. He also discusses the formation of his collaborative work as a partnership with Herb Kahn and Rex Lotery. He talks about his interest in urban issues as well as social and land issues. Kappe shows examples of his work and gives an account for some of his design choices. He discusses materials such as wood and steel and the advantages and disadvantages of both. He also deals with structures, mechanical systems, and perceptions within a system.
Video Archive | Harwell Hamilton Harris (3)
Harwell Hamilton Harris discusses his early projects, covering topics such as material applications, construction techniques and budgetary concerns. The majority of the projects presented are residential projects based in 1930’s Southern California. Harris also discusses technical concerns such as radiant heating systems and his interest in responsiveness to local climate. After discussing a series of residential projects in the first part of his lecture, Harris presents a series of larger scale projects including an exhibition hall and a church.
Harwell Hamilton Harris responds to questions from Shelly Kappe. Harris describes growing up in an idealistic and progressive early 20th century Los Angeles. He considered himself a sculptor until he saw Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in 1925. An attempt to contact Wright’s assistant, Rudolph Schindler led to meeting with Richard Neutra. Harris describes working for Neutra in the 1920s, along with Gregory Ain. Harris describes how his own practice began when Neutra left to tour Europe in 1930. His first built work, the Lowe House in Altadena, 1934, was published in House Beautiful, and led to more residential work. In his own work, he sees the idea of prefabrication informing his use of interchangeable units, like a musical scale, to create a rhythmical composition. Harris describes how he assumed the immediate post-war period would be bad for practice, so in 1951 he accepted an offer to head the architecture school of the University of Texas at Austin. The possibility of doing more work, while teaching, led him, in 1962, to the School of Design at North Carolina State University. Asked about the difference between his California work and his work in Texas and North Carolina, Harris sees more continuity than difference. He argues that both wood and stucco have interesting characteristics that he uses “joyfully.” Asked about new architecture being built, Harris describes his discomfort with megaprojects and vast urban plans. He characterizes his architecture as a means of discovering what can be.