The Santa Cruz House
Following Richard Nixon’s Invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War in the Spring of 1970, the students of the School of Architecture at the University of California Berkeley Campus decided to strike. They also embarked upon a complete revision of the curriculum, seeking ways to make it more meaningful, more relevant to the community and more influential in the drive to end the War.
As part of their course revision, and with the help of sympathetic faculty, they initiated a new course (Arch 191A) – a 12 Credit course in which they were able to integrate all of the diverse elements of design – the social, the structural, the economic, the aesthetic etc. into one all-encompassing project. The first trial of the course followed, in the Summer of 1970, with the design of an Architectural Education Collective in Lafayette, California. But although it was intended to try to actualiSe the design, this never happened, and it wasn’t until the new academic year began in the Fall that a group of students decided to test the limits of the new course. They planned, in the Spring Semester, to attempt the design and construction of a small house, free of charge, for a real client. This project changed my academic career completely, and this is the story of that project.
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