Houses Made of Wood and Light: The Life and Architecture of Hank Schubart

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University of Texas Press, Mar 14, 2012 - Architecture - 208 pages
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American architect Hank Schubart was regarded as a genius for finding the perfect site for a house and for integrating its design into the natural setting, so that his houses appear to be as native to the forest around them as the trees and rocks. Salt Spring Island, one of the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada, offered him a place to create the kind of architecture that responded to its surroundings, and Schubart-designed homes populate the island. Built of wood and glass, suffused with light, and oriented to views, they display characteristic features: random-width cedar siding, exposed beams, rusticated stonework. Over time, Schubart’s homes on Salt Spring Island came to be considered uniquely Gulf Islands homes.

This inviting book offers the first introduction to the life and architecture of West Coast modernist Henry A. Schubart, Jr. (1916–1998). While still in his teens, Schubart persuaded Frank Lloyd Wright to accept him as a Taliesin Fellow, and his year’s apprenticeship in the master’s workshop taught him principles of designing in harmony with nature that he explored throughout the rest of his life. Michele Dunkerley traces Schubart’s career from his early practice in San Francisco at the noted firm Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons, to his successful firm with Howard Friedman, to his most lasting professional achievements on Salt Spring Island, where he became the de facto community architect, designing more than 230 residential, commercial, educational, and religious projects. Drawing lessons from his mentors over his decades on the island, he forged an everyday architecture with his mastery of detail and inventiveness. In doing so, he helped define how the island could grow without losing its soul. Color photographs and site plans display Schubart’s remarkable homes and other commissions.


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First Glimpse
Wrights Taliesin The Most Informing Experience ofMy Life
The Making of a West Coast Modernist
An Emerging Sensibility The PirkleJones House
Salt Spring Island
The Practice Flourishes
Early Homes
Village Architect
Houses from the 1980s
Mastery at Work
Houses from the 1990s
AFteRwoRd by Heather McKinney
liSt oF illuStRAtionS

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About the author (2012)

Michele Dunkerley was introduced to Schubart’s work on Salt Spring Island in 2003. She drew on Schubart’s copious files and notes, as well as files at the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives and the Friedman Archives at the University of California, Berkeley, and interviews with family, clients, and contractors, to author this exploration of his life and works. Dunkerley is a business attorney whose current portfolio of work involves helping revitalize Stephenville’s historic downtown square.

Jane Hickie is Senior Research Scholar and Director of the Politics, Scholars, and the Public Program at the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Jim Alinder’s photographs have been published in ARTFORUM, American Photographer, Popular Photography, and Creative Camera, as well as in the books Picture America, Consequences, Sparkling Harvest and The Sea Ranch.

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