Los Angeles, CA
In 1966 Harry Wolf set for himself the goal to create an architectural practice which would produce carefully detailed works of outstanding quality and consistent integrity. Today after five times receiving what the AIA characterizes as “ The Nation’s Highest Award for Architectural Excellence” and 30 or more other significant Regional and State AIA Awards. After nearly 300 projects, he continues his quest.
Ask Harry Wolf to describe his work and he may show you the photograph of a Japanese fisherman's robe, a museum piece from the 19th century.
“These robes are simply three layers of cotton, dyed the Indigo of the sea, and stitched together with coarse thread. The rows of stitching, vertical and horizontal in grids, serve the purpose of relieving stress and distributing it across the fabric. Where the wear is the greatest, in the seat, the shoulders and at the edges, the stitching pattern doubles or triples increasing the resistance to wear at these crucial locations. The result is rational, intelligent and beautiful.
The Japanese never thought to not make it beautifully, as distinct from making something beautiful; that is, the beauty arises out the intelligent and careful application of the craft to the necessities. Because it is unselfconscious, because it arises out of creatively meeting needs, it retains this sense of beauty over time. This is a great lesson and important to me.”
His practice has sought to synthesize the client’s needs with the necessaries of construction, with the valence of site and culture of place, to produce a seemingly effortless, understated elegance. Here is a search to realize a sense of rightness of result, of inevitability.
He views cost to be a major consideration. Weaned on projects where time and budget, not architecture, were the prime concerns of the clients, the office has nevertheless received International recognition for its design work. This has been achieved by a certain design ethic- the determination to define architecture through its essential elements and distill the truth of a building as a means to condense its poetic force, as a repository of energy to be transmitted to the “dwellers” of architecture.
Throughout his career, he has subscribed to an ecological approach to architecture in which conceives the impact of time as a positive component and innovative in its contribution to the re-qualification of the environment. Against his sensibility is the impulse to overpower nature with a spendthrift attitude towards resources- be they natural or economic.
A believer in restricted means, in working within confines, Harry Wolf’s respect for the “facts” has won him the confidence of many clients. It is because of this that he has been able to advance his long-held convictions about sustainablility and effectively influence the ethos that has driven a number of major building projects such as the ABN-AMRO headquarters in Amsterdam, NationsBank Tower in Tampa and the Disney Arrival Building in Anaheim.
The achievement of this is always thru the interaction of a team embracing the client in an uncharacteristically active way, with the finest engineering and technical consultants. The works are a team effort, first last and always and the interaction is alchemical, producing results impossible to preconceive, and great fun in the process!
1436 N Laurel Ave
Los Angeles, CA, US , 90046