July 18, 2012
The Santa Monica Conservancy is pleased to invite members and friends to a Salon at the home of visionary architect Ray Kappe, FAIA. Mr. Kappe has become a driving force of the local architectural scene during his 60-year architectural career and as founder of the innovative school SCI-ARC (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in Santa Monica in 1972. His own home, an award-winning masterpiece in Rustic Canyon (1965-1967), is considered one of the most exciting works of architecture in the region. Through its structural and design innovations as well as its breathtaking beauty, it has inspired many architects and students since it was built. This event, a fundraiser for the Conservancy, includes a house tour, a reception with elegant hors d’oeuvres, and a conversation with Ray and his wife, Shelly Kappe.
Built on a steep hillside over a running brook, six concrete towers rise into the trees, carrying the structural loads of the house as well as containing rooms and bringing light inside through skylights. Immense laminated wood beams run horizontally to create complex multi-levels of interconnected living spaces. Rooms merge into the surrounding landscape with dramatically cantilevered decks, extended beams and glass walls, creating the ultimate tree house. A bridge over the creek leads to the front door. After climbing stairs in a confined space – Kappe’s trademark wood butcherblock stairs – the space opens up dramatically to different levels and heights. All the furniture and cabinetry, except for the Eames chairs, was designed by him. A visit to the Kappe House is an unforgettable experience.
Space is limited; early reservations are advised and must be made by September 5.
Throughout his career, Ray Kappe has received numerous awards for both his architecture and his commitment to education. His residential designs blend innovative technology in materials and structure with practical solutions calibrated to each specific site. He initiated the architectural program at Cal Poly Pomona and in 1972 founded the acclaimed SCI-ARC (Southern California Institute of Architecture), serving as director and faculty member. Kappe’s interest in modular construction, pre-fab housing and energy conservation have led to new ventures with LivingHomes. This collaboration resulted in the design of their first model home which became the first LEED certified platinum house in the country – the highest possible ranking for energy-efficiency.
Shelly Kappe also served as a faculty member at SCI-ARC, and is professor emeritus of architectural history there, having accomplished a successful career in education over four decades. Her research, publications and field study projects with students have helped to shape SCI-ARC into a top-ranked architectural school. Her extensive photo collection of world architecture will soon be digitized.