Puerto Rico’s Henry Klumb : A Modern Architect’s Sense of Place book cover
1st Edition

Puerto Rico’s Henry Klumb
A Modern Architect’s Sense of Place

ISBN 9780367149727
Published April 15, 2020 by Routledge
204 Pages

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This book follows Henry Klumb’s life in architecture from Cologne, Germany to Puerto Rico. Arriving on the island, Klumb was a one-time German immigrant, a moderately successful designer, and previously a senior draftsman with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Over the next forty years Klumb would emerge as Puerto Rico’s most prolific, locally well-known, and celebrated modern architect. In addition to becoming a leading figure in Latin American modern architecture, Klumb also became one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most accomplished protégés, and an architect with a highly attuned social and environmental consciousness. Cruz explores his life, works, and legacy through the lens of a sense of place, defined as the beliefs that people adopt, actions undertaken, and feelings developed towards specific locations and spaces. He argues that the architect’s sense of place was a defining quality of his life and work, most evident in the houses he designed and built in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricos Henry Klumb offers a historical narrative, culminating in a series of architectural analyses focusing on four key design strategies employed in Klumb’s work: vernacular architecture, the grid and the landscape, dense urban spaces, and open air rooms. This book is aimed at researchers, academics, and postgraduate students interested in Latin American architecture, modernism, and architectural history.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Chapter 1 – Looking into a Modern Architect’s Sense of Place

A sense of place – a theoretical underpinning

Defining place

Places as sources of meaning, and other factors leading to a sense of place

Searching for evidence of phenomenological thinking

Investigative cycles and narrative writing

Chapter 2 – From Germany to the Modern American Metropolises, 1905 – 1927

Henry Klumb’s pamphlet series: an introduction

Klumb’s German period, 1905 – 1927: the setting that began to shape a young modern architect

Klumb, the early modernists, and higher values

Klumb and the (un)natural modern city, 1927 – 1929

Chapter 3 – With Wright in Arizona and Taliesin, 1929 – 1933

Camp Ocotillo


Chapter 4 – Vernacular Influences I: The Native American Projects, 1938 – 1941

Respecting tradition, nature, and context in Native American architecture

The Tulsa, Gallup, and San Francisco exhibits

Klumb in Sells, Arizona

Lasting impressions of the American Southwest and Klumb’s experiences there

Chapter 5 – Vernacular Influences II: Reimagining Puerto Rico’s Jibaro Hut, 1944 – 1948

Klumb’s Puerto Rico, February 1944

Puerto Rico’s post-war modernist project in context

The jibaro hut in Klumb’s pamphlets

The jibaro hut reimagined through the Teacher’s Farms

A return to the more traditional jibaro hut through the Low Cost Rural Houses

Chapter 6 – The Grid and the Landscape: The Haeussler Residence, 1945

Klumb’s orthogonal and triangular grids in Puerto Rico’s terrain

The Haeussler Residence

The Evans Residence

The Ewing, Fullana, Tugwell, and Foreman homes

The grid and the landscape within a series of oppositions

Chapter 7 – Open Air Rooms: The Emilio Rodriguez and Duchow Residences, 1951 and 1958

Klumb’s initial open air rooms in Puerto Rico – the patio

The varied moods of nature at Klumb’s terraces, verandas, cross-ventilated spaces, and breezeways

Chapter 8 – Additional House Types: Houses in Dense Urban Spaces and Modern Stilt Houses

Balancing nature with the burgeoning modern city

The Kogan House

The Marrero and Velez houses

Klumb’s modern stilt houses

The jibaro hut reimagined once more

A career in its twilight, 1967 - 1984

Chapter 9 – A Coda to a Sense of Place: The Klumb House, 1947 – 1984

Impressions of the Klumb House

An early personal transition for Klumb in Puerto Rico

Viewing the Klumb House through the architect’s naturalistic worldview

Chapter 10 – Conclusions

Appendix A – Klumb’s Pamphlet Series

Appendix B – Henry Klumb’s "Taliesin"

Appendix C – Notes on Klumb’s Houses

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Cesar A. Cruz is an architectural historian and educator. He has taught architectural history and theory, building structures, and design in Illinois, Indiana, and New Mexico. In August 2016 he received his Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.