Wednesday 21 December 2011


Henry Klumb's house in Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Klumb's rotating table

view of the dinning room from the outside

the kitchen area, badly affected by a hurricane

gate to Klumb's house

at the house with Klumb expert Enrique Vivoni

Beta Local friends and fellows visiting Klumb's House

earlier in the morning giving a talk at Beta-Local on the Novo Museo Tropical and Tropical Modernity

and Klumb furniture at the documentation centre of the Archivo de Arquitectura y Construcción de la Universidad de Puerto Rico

See a previous post with original photos of the house here

with thanks to Enrique Vivoni from the Archivo de Arquitectura y Construcción de la Universidad de Puerto Rico for opening the house for us

with thanks also to Michy Marxuach and Beta Local, for making my wish come true and organising the visit to Henry Klumb's house, and making possible that finally, after 10 years of going continuously to Puerto Rico I could finally visit Klumb's house. See Beta Local's post on the visit here

Henry Klumb was born in Koln, Germany in 1905 and emigrated to the USA in 1927 to work with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesen West, he also later collaborated with Louis Kahn. In 1944 he moved to Puerto Rico, where he developed an agenda of modernist architecture for the tropics, and was in charge of the new master plan and most of the modern buildings of the University of Puerto Rico. Klumb's own house was located in Rio Piedras, in the outskirts of San Juan, not far from the University where he was designing most of the buildings. The house, located in an existing pineapple plantation, was a traditional wooden house from the XIX century, which was intervened and opened up by Klumb. Walls were brought down and palms planted outside the house to create shade and view. The house was bought by the University after Klumb's dead, but the lack of use and maintenance and the effects of the climate have had an effect on the house, which has become almost a ruin. Now the house has been declared a modern monument and new efforts are being done for its renovation. Hopefully the future (and expensive) renovation, will bring the house back to it's old glory and not transform it into a cartoon of its former self. Klumb's example of tropical modernism becomes even more relevant today in Puerto Rico's contemporary landscape of air conditioned architecture and inhabitants isolated from the exterior world.

download a pdf on Klumb's architecture by Vivoni here.

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