Charles Moore (architect)

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Charles Willard Moore
File:Charles Moore Piazza d'Italia.jpg
Born October 31, 1925
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Austin, Texas
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Michigan B.Arch, Hon.D.Arch
Princeton University M.Arch, Ph.D
Occupation Architect
Awards AIA Gold Medal (1991)
Practice Moore Ruble Yudell
Buildings Piazza D'Italia
Haas School
Projects Sea Ranch, California
Yale Building Project

Charles Willard Moore (October 31, 1925 – December 16, 1993) was an American architect, educator, writer, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and winner of the AIA Gold Medal in 1991.

Life and career

Moore graduated from the University of Michigan in 1947 and earned both a Master's and a Ph.D at Princeton University in 1957, where he studied under Professor Jean Labatut. He remained for an additional year as a post-doctoral fellow, serving as a teaching assistant for Louis Kahn, the Philadelphia architect who taught a design studio. It was also at Princeton that Moore developed relationships with his fellow students Donlyn Lyndon, William Turnbull, Jr., Richard Peters, and Hugh Hardy, remained lifelong friends and collaborators. During the Princeton years, Moore designed and built a house for his mother in Pebble Beach, California, and worked during the summers for architect Wallave Holm of neighboring Monterey. Moore's Master's Thesis explored ways to preserve and integrate Monterey's historic adobe dwellings into the fabric of the city. His Doctoral dissertation, "Water and Architecture", was a study of the importance of water in shaping the experience of place. The dissertation is significant for being the first work of architectural scholarship to draw from the work of Gaston Bachelard, and an early source for the architectural phenomenology movement.[1] Many decades later, the dissertation became the basis of a book with the same title.

In 1959, Moore left New Jersey and began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. Moore went on to become Dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1965 through 1970, directly after the tenure of Paul Rudolph. In 1975, he moved to the University of California, Los Angeles where he continued teaching. Finally, in 1985, he became the O'Neil Ford Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

Moore's outgoing, absorptive, and engaging personality and his dedication to innovation, collaboration, debate, and direct experience was sharp contrast to Rudolph's authoritarian approach. With Kent Bloomer, Moore founded the Yale Building Project in 1967 as a way both to demonstrate social responsibility and demystify the construction process for first-year students. The project remains active at Yale.

Moore opened a practice in New Haven, Connecticut and in the following years practiced under a confusing variety of professional configurations, partners, and names, including Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, Whitaker, MLTW, Centerbrook Architects, Moore Ruble Yudell, Urban Innovations Group, Charles W. Moore Incorporated, and Moore/Andersson. The constant changes resulted, in part, from Moore's extensive worldwide travel and his moves to California and then to Austin, Texas.

Moore preferred conspicuous design features, including loud color combinations, supergraphics, stylistic collisions, the re-use of esoteric historical-design solutions, and the use of non-traditional materials such as plastic, (aluminized) PET film, platinum tiles, and neon signs, As a result, his work provokes arousal, demands attention, and sometimes tips over into kitsch. His mid-1960s New Haven residence, published in Playboy, featured an open, freestanding shower in the middle of the room, its water nozzled through a giant sunflower. Such design features (historical detail, ornament, fictional treatments, ironic significations) made Moore one of the chief innovators of postmodern architecture, along with Robert Venturi and Michael Graves, among others. Moore's Piazza d'Italia (1978), an urban public plaza in New Orleans, made prolific use of his exuberant design vocabulary and is frequently cited as the archetypal postmodern project.

In addition to his influential work as an architect and university educator, Moore was a prolific author, publishing a dozen books. Many other books, monographs, and articles document his designs.

  • The Place of Houses (with Gerald Allen and Donlyn Lyndon)
  • Dimensions (with Gerald Allen)
  • Body, Memory and Architecture (with Kent Bloomer)
  • The Poetics of Gardens
  • The City Observed: Los Angeles (with Peter Becker and Regula Campbell)
  • Water and Architecture
  • Chambers for a Memory Palace (with Donlyn Lyndon)

"Body, Memory, and Architecture," written with Kent Bloomer during the Yale years, is a plea for architects to design structures for three-dimensional user experience instead of two-dimensional visual appearance. "The City Observed: Los Angeles" remains an excellent guide to Los Angeles' significant architecture.

The Charles W. Moore Foundation was established in 1997 in Austin, Texas to preserve Moore's last home and studio. Its non-profit programs include residencies, conferences, lectures, and publication of PLACENOTES, a travel guide.


File:Haas School of Business.jpg
The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Moore died before the project was completed in 1995.


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External links