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Henry Klumb: Puerto Rico’s critical modernist

  • César A. Cruz (a1)

Extract

In February 1944 a thirty-nine-year-old itinerant architect named Heinrich ‘Henry’ Klumb [1] (1905–1984), moved to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico for what was supposed to be a short-term, public works job with the island’s provincial government, that is, a territorial government that had been established and was largely supervised by the American federal government. At the time of his arrival on the island, Klumb was a one-time German immigrant, a former protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn’s occasional design and business partner during the mid-to-late 1930s, and a moderately successful designer of a variety of projects and building types. These early projects and building types included residences, prototype prefabricated buildings and houses, museum exhibits, furniture pieces, and a number of housing and urban master plans. Over the next forty years he would emerge as Puerto Rico’s most locally well-known and prolific modern architect. His major successes on the island consisted of his public works, university buildings, churches, residences, and office buildings. Outside of Puerto Rico, his association with Frank Lloyd Wright has also generated a measure of interest.

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Henry Klumb: Puerto Rico’s critical modernist

  • César A. Cruz (a1)

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