I am an architect, an nonagenarian, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As a senior member of the senior generation, I know what granny needs, and I have an affinity with people who may require accessible housing.

I’ve been a registered architect for 66 years, and I still love to design houses and watch them being built. I graduated from Antioch College’s work-study program, and on this program I worked as an apprentice for two of the “starchitects” of the mid-century modern movement: Richard Neutra and Minaru Yamasaki. Upon graduation, I worked for a Mies van der Rohe disciple. After my kids entered high school, I worked for a large firm in Chicago, then I worked from my home-office doing remodels and rehabs in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park area. Twenty-five years ago, my husband retired from his school principal job, we moved to California, and I’ve been practicing architecture here ever since.

People often assume that I’m a feminist because there were so few women in architecture 65 years ago. Actually, I fell into it because it just seemed like the most interesting thing one could do. My father was an engineer, and he subscribed to Pencil Points magazine, which I believe was the only architectural magazine in the 1930’s, and I saw the beautiful buildings on its pages.

But as I look back, I can see that the primary influence on my architectural work is the childhood I spent in Maine, exposed to the beautiful vernacular/colonial buildings, the town greens surrounded by simple white houses, the small weathered structures on the coast.

And some of those early California settlers were from Maine and influenced California’s vernacular buildings. The big depression of 1929 was also an influence, and my work is always budget-conscious.

And today, my style is consistently inconsistent, because each of my projects is influenced by my clients’ needs and tastes.

Harriet Redlich
CA Architects license #18030
Certified Green Bldg. Professional
Member, National Trust for
Historic Preservation

 

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