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1st Edition

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

By Cesar Cruz Copyright 2020
    ISBN 9781032237428
    204 Pages
    Published December 13, 2021 by Routledge

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    ISBN 9780367149727
    204 Pages
    Published April 15, 2020 by Routledge

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    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.

    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


    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.

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