The reasons I transferred to ASU were that the architecture school had adopted an approach something like the old USC school (i.e. former USC professor Cal Straub had gone there to teach) and I wanted to better understand the desert. Also, Taliesin West, Paolo Soleri’s Cosanti, and the Pauson House Ruins were nearby and could be learned from as well. Although lacking the history, ambiance, and charisma of my former schools, at ASU I was able to work through a number of design projects and confront my strengths and weaknesses. Fellow students like Art Truter and Bob Oshatz infused poetic qualities into their work that I found emotionally moving, if not quite appropriate for me and my mind set. Professors Jim Flynn and Jerry Diethelm were helpful to my development as well.
I was still very much searching for myself…basically a B student, but sensing I had insights of value to realize and express. Design projects like this house, Canal Park, and my thesis, the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, were not brilliant solutions, but were reasonably successful. I think they helped me see that while I had a good amount of skill it was going to require stepping up my efforts and working very hard to access the potential within me.
I also learned from measuring the Pauson house, working at Cosanti, doing sculptures, and spending time alone in the desert. Communion with the desert is for me stronger and more heart-felt than I experience with our northern forests and I value this and many other aspects of my time in Arizona.
In hindsight I feel that school may not have been the ideal path leading to my life as an architect, although I’m not sure what might have been a better track. Interfacing with all my fellow students at a variety of schools was certainly the most valuable part of college…I think of it as preparation for moving forward and figuring out the larger world for oneself.