We visited Ray Kappe in his breathtaking home in Rustic Canyon, Los Angeles, to hear his thoughts on the shifting grounds of architecture education, and how architecture seems to always play catch-up to the historical zeitgeist. In a career spanning 60+ years and counting – including his roles as co-founder of Cal Poly Pomona's architecture department, and the founding-director of SCI-Arc – Kappe has not only been an impressive force of architectural practice (often referred to as an under-the-radar southern Californian modern master), but an educator constantly seeking to bring science and the world at large into architecture.
Source by Archinect
Exploring American architect and educator Ray Kappe’s 4,000-square foot treetop abode in California for the latest In Residence.
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This video contains two different events.
This video begins with partial footage of the first Beyond Neutra and Schindler panel discussion (September 15, 1976) hosted by Shelly Kappe with Thornton Abell, Harwell Hamilton Harris, Gregory Ain, and Raphael Soriano. The subtitle was “The goals and failures … Did the modern movement accomplish what it set out to do?”
Starting at the 38:51 mark is the first hour of a lecture by Ray Kappe on February 23, 1977.
The complete lecture is available in two parts: Part 1 (https://youtu.be/H6-MD9D53mQ) and Part 2 (https://youtu.be/fzlExOYS1V).
This event did not take place at SCI-Arc, but MOCA, Los Angeles.
Ann Videriksen thanks everyone who supported the “9 in 99” lecture series at MOCA, and welcomes Ray Kappe as the first guest speaker, identifying him a national treasure.
Ray Kappe begins by giving credit to Bernard Zimmerman for his influence and leadership and the City of L.A. planning director Calvin Hamilton for his open minded approach to planning. He discusses his early ideas regarding transportation in Los Angeles.
Kappe discusses the future of downtown Los Angeles. He discusses the Metro system and his proposal for a people mover system. He reflects on the development of the Staples Center and proposes various possibilities for the different districts such as South Park and Grand Ave.
Kappe takes questions from the audience. Topics include issues of loft development, political influences, the Community Redevelopment Agency, and densification.
Michael Rotondi, who succeeded Ray Kappe as Director of SCI-Arc, introduces the new Director, Neil Denari. Denari, in turn, introduces Kappe stressing his work’s significance in terms of still-vital modernist ideas.
Ray Kappe describes himself as an empirical learner and architect. He discusses some of his projects, and also talks about taking time away from designing houses so that he may study them. For Kappe, architecture should strive to make people constantly aware of what they are perceiving. He stresses that his designs are not arbitrary, but rather the product of calculation.
Kappe discusses studies that he did for the AIA regarding development in Los Angeles and the unnecessary destruction of green space. He also talks about urban planning, and his idea for creating an inflatable dam on the Los Angeles River.
Ray Kappe concludes his lecture by explaining his architectural principles. He describes that a house should be sympathetic with nature, providing minimum separation from the elements, and emphasize space perception. He finishes with a ten-minute silent slide show of his projects, followed by a few more words about SCI-Arc.