Ralph Haver designed homes as an architect in Phoenix, Arizona during the mid 40s to the 80s of the previous century. He built American style, mid-century modern tract houses affordable to the average budget. The number of buildings constructed by Haver is amazing and certainly dwarfs the production of Eichler in California. Over 20,000 dwellings were raised in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, along with various office and educational facilities. Although, not well-known outside Arizona, Haver was extremely influential in promoting modernist ideals throughout the southwestern United States. He worked with the largest housing developers, such as Dell Webb, and designed some very iconic Phoenix landmarks.
“Haver Homes” had many of the same characteristics of the Eichler edifices, such as floor to ceiling glass, low angled, long roof lines, clerestory windows, the extensive use of block and brick and mantle-less fireplaces. Not usually large, the houses were typically in the 1400 to 1600 square feet range.
One of the archetypal Haver buildings is the Cine’ Capri at 24th Street and Camelback in Phoenix, included sweeping colonnades of sculpted concrete columns, copper fascia and a 24 foot stained glass panel. The theater sported luxurious materials and features, the most spectacular for the time was a very large curved screen.
Even though he is known for what is called “Haver Homes”, Ralph Haver and his firm were quite prolific in terms of commercial structures as well and included a wide range of structures from hotels to buildings at educational institutions. Here are some of his commercial endeavors:
The above is an incomplete sampling of the commercial buildings involving Ralph Haver. There are a lot more. His homes follow:
Some Miscellaneous Haver Home examples:
Although much more conventional than say, Al Beadle in Phoenix, Ralph Haver and his associated architects and design firms produced a tremendous number of work that had a serious impact on the southwest USA. As a native to Arizona, I can attest to a strong familiarity of what one sees above. Yet a substantial influence of International Style also found a place here.
Home by Al Beadle and William Cody, Paradise Valley, Arizona, 1966.
As a side note, the whole notion of modernist architecture in a dry desert climate like in the lower twothirds of Arizona would seem almost natural since the concept of an affiliation between outdoors and indoors suits Arizonans quite well. The same may well be said of large parts of California, New Mexico and Texas. During most of the year, Arizonans live, eat and play outdoors. For one thing, we have spectacular outdoors, even in a huge metropolitan area like Phoenix. Here we see people atop Piestewa Peak, part of one of the large mountain parks in the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Modernism, unfortunately, does not fit the tourist and winter visitor idea of the wild west with cowboys, ranches and rustic mining towns.
The conclusion here: Modernity found a nurturing environment in the southwest, of which Ralph Haver flourished and helped nourish an extensive dissemination. Not as much of the purist as some others, he dealt in practicalities and, by doing so, spread the ideals of modernism when they might not have gotten far. The proof of his success comes from the prolific record of buildings he left.
A link to a wonderful video of photographs made by the famous, Julius Shulman, of modernist structures in Arizona. Please see this inspiring video!