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Born in Redlands, California in 1903, Harwell Hamilton Harris ('23) created a very personal Southern California architectural style that carefully modulated interior and exterior space. He began his studies at Pomona College but dropped out to study sculpture at the Otis Art Institute. In 1928, he began working with architect Richard Neutra with whom he was associated until 1932.
Adopting Neutra's modernist sensiblity, Harris merged the vernacular of California with a sensitivity to site and materials characteristic of the American Arts & Crafts movement. In his residential work of the 1930s and 1940s, Harris created a tension and a continuum between exterior and interior with continuous rooflines. Learning from Frank Lloyd Wright, he designed interior spaces that are often based on the cruciform plan. His work is characterized by a careful use of materials and clean, fluid spaces.