THE ARTISTS, POETS and PROFESSORS of BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (the college featured in the film THE LONGEST RIDE) Part 25 Claude Stoller ( architect)

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Interview with Claude Stoller / © Sigrid Pawelke 2010

Claude Stoller studied at Black Mountain College from 1939 to 1943. He attended Josef Albers basic courses in design, drawing and color, as well as architectural courses with Lawrence Kocher, Howard Dearstyne, and Lou Bernard Voight. Together with Charles Forberg, he constructed a small house designed by Lawrence Kocher for Heinrich, Johanna and Lisa Jalowetz. Drafted to the United States Army, he left Black Mountain College in 1942. In February 1946 he enrolled at Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he compensated his deficit of technical skills with his knowledge in physics and his practical construction experiences gained at Black Mountain College. After graduating in 1949 he worked as an architect, forming Marquis & Stoller Architects in 1956 in San Francisco and Stoller/Partners (later Stoller Knoerr Architects) in 1978 in Berkeley. From 1957 until 1991 he was teaching at the Department of Architecture at the University of California. Stoller is now living with his second wife and BMC alumni Rosemary Raymond Stoller in Berkeley and Maine. In the interview he talks about the work camp at Black Mountain College and recalls how Josef Albers altered his way of seeing.

Source: http://www.blackmountaincollegeproject.org/Biographies/STOLLERclaude/STOLLERclaudeBIO.htm

I fell in love with the story of Black Mountain College and I have done posts on many of the people associated with the college such as  Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Donald Alter, Sylvia Ashby, James BishopJohn Cage,   Willem de Kooning (featured  in 3 posts)Ted Dreier, Ted Dreier Jr. Robert DuncanJorge Fick, Walter Gropius, Heinrich Jalowetz, Pete Jennerjahn, Wassily Kandinsky,   Karen Karnes,  Martha King, Irwin Kremen, Charles OlsonCharles Perrow, Robert Rauschenber,  M.C.Richards, Dorothea Rockburne,  Xanti Schawinsky, Claude Stoller Bill TreichlerSusan Weil,  David Weinrib,  and Vera B. Williams

CLAUDE STOLLER

PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF ARCHITECTURE

BIOGRAPHY
Claude Stoller received his M.Arch degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Stoller continued his studies for a year at the University of Florence in Italy. In 1956, he formed a partnership, Marquis & Stoller Architects. In 1978 Stoller formed Stoller/Partners (later Stoller Knoerr Architects) in Berkeley. Projects included single homes, multiple dwellings, religious buildings, and institutional and commercial structures. Social issues such as housing and energy-efficient designs were a primary concern for Stoller as was historic preservation.

In 1968 he was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and in 1991 he was awarded the Berkeley Citation by the University of California. Stoller served on city and county planning commissions, on an advisory panel for the federal General Services Administration and on several other public and professional committees. He was licensed to practice in several states and certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

In 1957 William Wurster invited Stoller to join the faculty in the Department of Architecture at the University of California. He was acting Chair in 1965-66 and Chair of Graduate Studies from the early 1980s until he retired Professor Emeritus in 1991.

To the extent possible within a conventional architectural curriculum, Stoller used real sites and exposed his students to the manufacturing process of materials through visits to factories. For one design class at Berkeley Stoller started the Wurster West Workshop, a studio in San Francisco where students could gain practical experience in planning, construction, and client relationships by working in poor neighborhoods. The major project for the workshop was the design in a redevelopment area of a square with both commercial space and housing.

In 1965 Stoller started a program in Continuing Education in Environmental Design in collaboration with the University of California Extension. Several courses were instituted for architecture, planning, landscape architecture and design professionals. In 1966-67, as the internship component of the program, Stoller founded the pioneering San Francisco Community Design Center, a response both to student concerns about inequities in housing and community concerns about redevelopment plans. The Center, located on Haight Street in San Francisco, was started with a Research and Development grant from the University. The Center became a prototype for other Community Design Centers which brought the skills of architectural interns to poor neighborhoods where buildings needed remodeling or new construction was possible and where interns worked with “real” clients. In addition to architects, the program drew on the expertise of other disciplines including psychology, economics, law, and engineering.

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My first post in this series was on the composer John Cage and my second post was on Susan Weil and Robert Rauschenberg who were good friend of CageThe third post in this series was on Jorge Fick. Earlier we noted that  Fick was a student at Black Mountain College and an artist that lived in New York and he lent a suit to the famous poet Dylan Thomas and Thomas died in that suit.

The fourth post in this series is on the artist  Xanti Schawinsky and he had a great influence on John Cage who  later taught at Black Mountain College. Schawinsky taught at Black Mountain College from 1936-1938 and Cage right after World War II. In the fifth post I discuss David Weinrib and his wife Karen Karnes who were good friends with John Cage and they all lived in the same community. In the 6th post I focus on Vera B. William and she attended Black Mountain College where she met her first husband Paul and they later  co-founded the Gate Hill Cooperative Community and Vera served as a teacher for the community from 1953-70. John Cage and several others from Black Mountain College also lived in the Community with them during the 1950’s. In the 7th post I look at the life and work of M.C.Richards who also was part of the Gate Hill Cooperative Community and Black Mountain College.

In the 8th post I look at book the life of   Anni Albers who is  perhaps the best known textile artist of the 20th century and at Paul Klee who was one  of her teachers at Bauhaus. In the 9th post the experience of Bill Treichler in the years of 1947-1949  is examined at Black Mountain College. In 1988, Martha and Bill started The Crooked Lake Review, a local history journal and Bill passed away in 2008 at age 84.

In the 10th post I look at the art of Irwin Kremen who studied at Black Mountain College in 1946-47 and there Kremen spent his time focused on writing and the literature classes given by the poet M. C. Richards. In the 11th post I discuss the fact that Josef Albers led the procession of dozens of Bauhaus faculty and students to Black Mountain.

In the 12th post I feature Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) who was featured in the film THE LONGEST RIDE and the film showed Kandinsky teaching at BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE which was not true according to my research. Evidently he was invited but he had to decline because of his busy schedule but many of his associates at BRAUHAUS did teach there. In the 13th post I look at the writings of the communist Charles Perrow. 

Willem de Kooning was such a major figure in the art world and because of that I have dedicated the 14th15th and 16th posts in this series on him. Paul McCartney got interested in art through his friendship with Willem because Linda’s father had him as a client. Willem was a  part of New York School of Abstract expressionism or Action painting, others included Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Anne Ryan, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston, Clyfford Still, and Richard Pousette-Dart.

In the 17th post I look at the founder Ted Dreier and his strength as a fundraiser that make the dream of Black Mountain College possible. In the 18th post I look at the life of the famous San Francisco poet Robert Duncan who was both a student at Black Mountain College in 1933 and a professor in 1956. In the 19th post I look at the composer Heinrich Jalowetz who starting teaching at Black Mountain College in 1938 and he was one of  Arnold Schoenberg‘s seven ‘Dead Friends’ (the others being Berg, Webern, Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schreker, Karl Kraus and Adolf Loos). In the 20th post I look at the amazing life of Walter Gropius, educator, architect and founder of the Bauhaus.

In the 21st post I look at the life of the playwright Sylvia Ashby, and in the 22nd post I look at the work of the poet Charles Olson who in 1951, Olson became a visiting professor at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, working and studying here beside artists such as John Cage and Robert Creeley.[2] 

In the 23rd post is about the popular artist James Bishop who attended Black Mountain College towards the end of its existence. In the 24th post I look at the Poet-Writer Martha King. In the 25th post I talk about the life of the architect Claude Stoller and his time at Black Mountain College.

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Claude Stoller   
Date of birth:
December 2, 1921Profession:
Architect
EducatorStudent

1939-40
1940-41
1941 Summer Work Camp
1941-42
1942 Summer Work Camp  (paid worker)
1942-43 fall quarter
Selected Architectural Projects
by
Claude Stoller

This biography was funded by a grant from the Graham Foundation for a study of architecture at Black Mountain College.

Claude Stoller was born and reared in the Bronx, New York where he attended public schools. He enrolled at City College of New York for a semester while searching for a school with a strong visual arts curriculum. Although he had heard of Black Mountain College from his brother Ezra Stoller, an architectural photographer, it was at the 1938 Bauhaus exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that Black Mountain caught his attention. Although both Moholy-Nagy’s New Bauhaus and Black Mountain College were represented, of the two, Black Mountain appealed because of its sliding tuition scale. He applied to Black Mountain and Cooper Union in New York and was accepted at both. A dinner interview by the ever-charming Xanti Schawinsky, a former Bauhaus student who had taught at Black Mountain, at a restaurant overlooking the Hudson River was the deciding factor.

At Black Mountain Stoller took a general curriculum with a focus on art and architecture. He took Josef Albers’s basic courses in design, color and drawing. He also took architectural courses with Lawrence Kocher, Howard Dearstyne, and Lou Bernard Voight. The architectural program at the time included architectural drafting and courses in Introductory Architecture, Contemporary Architecture, Introductory Design and Structural Design. For the class in Small House Design, the students designed small low-cost houses based on a four foot module.

Stoller and another student, Charles Forberg, were put in charge of the construction of the Jalowetz House, a small house designed by Lawrence Kocher for the Jalowetz family: Heinrich Jalowetz, who taught music, his wife Johanna, and their daughter Lisa. This involved meetings with Charles Godfrey, a local contractor who was directing the construction of several buildings, to plan each day’s work and the responsibility of directing other students assigned to the project.

At Black Mountain Stoller also explored his interest in photography. Students had set up a darkroom in the basement of Lee Hall, and although there was no photography teacher, Albers critiqued the work of the student photographers.

Stoller left Black Mountain after the 1942 fall quarter when he was drafted into the United States Army. He had applied for the Enlisted Reserve in hopes of finishing college but was rejected because he was deaf in one ear. During World War II he first was in the 14th Coast Artillery on Puget Sound. He then attended army engineering school after which he was sent overseas with the 13th Armored Division in France and Germany.

In February 1946, Stoller entered Harvard Graduate School of Design where he was accepted with advanced standing despite the fact he had not graduated from Black Mountain. He recalled that at first he was envious of the more advanced drafting skills of those who had come through professional undergraduate programs. He soon realized, however, that his courses with Josef Albers, an excellent physics course with Peter Bergmann, and his practical construction experience at Black Mountain compensated by far for any deficiency in technical skills which he soon mastered.

After graduation in 1949 (M. Arch.), Stoller studied for a year at the University of Florence in Italy. He and his wife Nan Oldenburg Stoller (now Nan Black), a Black Mountain student and a graduate of Radcliffe, were joined by Lucian and Jane Slater Marquis, both Black Mountain students. On his return Stoller worked for architectural firms in the Boston area. In 1955 he moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he taught at Washington University. While there, he was registered as an architect in both Missouri and Iowa.

After two years the Stollers moved to the San Francisco area. In 1956, he formed a partnership, Marquis & Stoller Architects, with another young architect, Robert B. Marquis, the brother of Lucian Marquis. The firm, with its office on Beach Street, focused on the general practice of architecture and planning including residential, housing, institutional, and governmental projects. Stoller’s use of natural materials in combination reflects both his studies with Albers and his admiration for the architect Marcel Breuer.

In 1978 Stoller formed Stoller/Partners (later Stoller Knoerr Architects) in Berkeley. Projects included single homes, multiple dwellings, religious buildings, and institutional and commercial structures. Social issues such as housing and energy-efficient designs were a primary concern for Stoller as was historic preservation.

Marquis & Stoller, Stoller/Partners and Stoller Knoerr have received many awards. In 1963-64 Stoller was visiting architect at the National Design Institute in Ahmedabad, India. In 1968 he was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and in 1991 he was awarded the Berkeley Citation by the University of California. Stoller served on city and county planning commissions, on an advisory panel for the federal General Services Administration and on several other public and professional committees. He was licensed to practice in several states and certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

In 1957 William Wurster invited Stoller to join the faculty in the Department of Architecture at the University of California. He was acting chairman in 1965-66 and Chair of Graduate Studies from the early 1980s until he retired Professor Emeritus in 1991.

As a teacher Stoller always bore in mind Josef Albers’s emphasis on “seeing.” He considered the development of a sensitive visual perception to be essential to the education of the architect. A second influence of Stoller’s Black Mountain experience was the value of direct “hands on” experience. To the extent possible within a conventional architectural curriculum, Stoller used real sites and exposed his students to the manufacturing process of materials through visits to factories. In both St. Louis and Berkeley, Buckminster Fuller was invited to speak to Stoller’s students who built experimental structures.

For one design class at Berkeley Stoller started the Wurster West Workshop, a studio in San Francisco where students could gain practical experience in planning, construction, and client relationships by working in poor neighborhoods. The major project for the workshop was the design in a redevelopment area of a square with both commercial space and housing. The square was designed in cooperation with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. The plan used both old buildings to be moved from other locations along with new buildings designed by the students. Although the square was never constructed, the project generated an ongoing discussion of urban design and redevelopment issues. Wurster West Workshop was continued by graduate students who renamed it ARKIS.

In 1965 Stoller started a program called Continuing Education in Environmental Design in collaboration with the University of California Extension. Several courses were instituted for architecture, planning, landscape architecture and design professionals. In 1966-67, as the internship component of the program, Stoller founded the pioneering San Francisco Community Design Center, a response both to student concerns about inequities in housing and community concerns about redevelopment plans. The Center, located on Haight Street in San Francisco, was started with a Research and Development grant from the University. The Center became a prototype for other Community Design Centers which brought the skills of architectural interns to poor neighborhoods where buildings needed remodeling or new construction was possible and where interns worked with “real” clients. In addition to architects, the program drew on the expertise of other disciplines including psychology, economics, law, and engineering. The program provided the type of practical experience Stoller had valued at Black Mountain. This was an extension of his teaching in which he selected specific sites which students visited.

Stoller has retired from active practice except for consulting. His last partner, his son-in-law Mark Knoerr, continues practice in San Francisco.

Stoller lives with his second wife Rosemary Raymond Stoller, also a Black Mountain student, in Berkeley and Maine where he continues his lifelong interest in photography. They inhabit a Julia Morgan House which they restored as well as an old house and barn on the Maine seacoast which they have been remodeling for many years.

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The Longest Ride Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Britt Robertson Movie HD

Plugged in MOVIE REVIEW

Bulls do not make good dates.

I’m not trying to be insulting. It’s a simple fact. They snort. They ooze gunk from their noses. They have very little to offer in the way of conversation. Spend quality time with an angry bull and you’ll likely consider steak to be not just a tasty dinner, but a proper punishment.

Bulls are one-ton slabs of untamed nasty—as unlikeable as domesticated critters come. But Luke Collins loves ’em anyway.

No, check that: He loves riding ’em. He doesn’t just hang with these hideous hocks of hide; he climbs on their backs and holds on like grim death for eight-second stretches, hoping like crazy he doesn’t get hurled into the next state. No matter that one such bull—a spinning leviathan named Rango—knocked him clean into a coma. No matter that another such encounter could kill him. Luke just can’t stay away. He’s a through-and-through cowboy who takes life in eight-second spurts, even if each of those seconds carries with it the ultimate risk. Bull riding, it seems, is the only thing the guy loves.

Well, at least until Luke meets Sophia, a pretty and smart art major going to Wake Forest University. The two run into each other at a bull riding event, of course. She picks up his hat. He says keep it. And suddenly it looks like the handsome dude in the jeans and boots found someone besides Rango who can throw him for a loop.

But sometimes love is more like Luke’s favorite sport than we’d all like it to be—full of ups and downs and unexpected twists and jarring thumps. So when Sophia tells Luke she’s moving to New York City in a couple of months, it seems their ride together might be over before it begins.

As he drives her home from a romantic date, Luke spies something along the side of the road. An elderly man crashed his car through a guardrail, and it looks like the whole works is fixing to explode.

Luke hastily pulls the guy from the car, but the injured oldster seems more anxious about a box on the passenger seat than he is about his own condition. Sophia retrieves it—and finds that it’s stuffed with pictures of and letters to a woman named Ruth. As Sophia sits in the hospital, waiting to see if the old man will be OK, she sneaks a peak. And then, as the days pass and the man slowly recovers, she reads them to him—each word and phrase giving shape to a romance undiminished even after 70 years.

There’s pain in those letters, too. Lots and lots of pain. Seems you don’t need to get launched by a bull to get hurt.

POSITIVE ELEMENTS

The old man is Ira Levinson, a widower who still pines for the wife of his youth. In The Longest Ride’s flashback parallel narrative, we see the two of them when they first fell in love. Their relationship wasn’t always easy. Ruth, for instance, desperately wants a (large) family, so when an infection robs Ira’s ability to give her children, she tries hard to sacrifice that dream for a life with him. And when it seems their two-person family is no longer enough for Ruth, Ira sadly opens the door—showing a willingness to sacrifice his own happiness for hers.

“I love you so much I just want you to be happy,” he tells her, “even if that happiness no longer includes me.” Happily, after a short time apart, Ruth returns, and the two build a wonderful life together, even in the midst of disappointment.

“Love requires sacrifice,” Ira tells Sophia. “Always.”

It’s a lesson Sophia and Luke both, eventually, take to heart. Sophia sacrifices many of her own ambitions for her beau, and Luke, stubborn as he is, comes to realize that as thrilling as bull riding can be, it can’t hold a candle to having Sophia around.

Ruth tutors a young, neglected boy, and she and Ira would have adopted the kid if his current guardians would’ve let them. When the Levinsons say goodbye to the boy for the last time, Ruth tells him he can be anything he wants to be—to never sell himself short. (Decades later, Ira learns that the boy grew up to be a college professor, and that he believed he owed everything he became to Ruth.)

SPIRITUAL CONTENT

Ira and Ruth are Jewish, and we see them in the local synagogue. We hear a professor encourage his art students to incorporate their mistakes purposefully, and to not leave things “to fate or the Lord or chance, whatever you want to call it.”

SEXUAL CONTENT

Luke is an old-fashioned kind of guy, prone to proffering flowers and favoring actual dates over “hanging” and “hooking up” (even insisting on paying). But when Sophia takes a shower at his pad, that kind of upright sensitivity doesn’t stop him from joining her in the water. We see her tempt him, stripping while only halfway behind a door. Then the two spend a minute or two of screen time kissing and caressing and (it’s implied by way of expressions and positions) having sex. As they clutch and grope and entwine, the camera zooms in from different angles, showing lots of skin and focusing on all but the critical bits of their anatomies.) Two or three other steamy sex scenes are shown in rapid-fire order as they spend every second of their free time in bed, lounging around either naked or partly naked (always covered just enough for the film’s PG-13 rating to remain intact). We see part of Luke’s backside before he pulls his pants back on. We see them both undress and jump in a lake in their underwear.

Ira and Ruth take things slower back in the 1940s, but they, too, end up kissing passionately and then having sex in Ira’s father’s tailor shop, pushing aside fabric and thread to make room on the table. (We see Ruth wrap her legs around Ira.) They frolic in the ocean, with her top revealing cleavage and midriff.

Sophia’s sorority sisters wear revealing getups to the rodeo and in their house. One of them yanks down Sophia’s neckline in front of Luke to reveal more of her cleavage. Luke jokes with Sophia that her life in a sorority house must be all pillow fights in underwear. “We don’t wear underwear,” Sophia jokes back. The Wake Forest women ogle the cowboy as he walks by. One or two modern paintings contain suggestions of artistic nudity.

VIOLENT CONTENT

Bull riding is, indeed, a very dangerous sport. The tumbles can be spectacular, and riders can get seriously hurt or even die—elements the movie shows and stresses. Luke’s run-in with Rango is a violent affair, with the man getting spun into the air and then harried by the beast. When it’s over, Luke lies on the arena dirt, unconscious, blood streaming from his forehead. Another time, Luke’s thrown hard against an arena gate.

Without giving too much away, I’ll say that the threat and presence of death is very real to Ruth and Ira as well. A lingering, mournful scene shows that someone has died while sleeping. And among other tragedies, Ira is injured by a bullet while rescuing someone on a battlefield. (Blood stains their clothes.)

CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE

Four or five s-words. Also, one or two each of “b–ch,” “d–n” and “h—.” Jesus’ name is abused once; God’s is misused a half-dozen times (once with the aforementioned “d–n”).

DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT

One of Sophia’s sorority sisters gets plastered at a bar, saying that the odds of her throwing up are somewhere around 90%. Sophia, Luke and others drink wine and beer at parties and in bars. Luke pops pills for the pain. We see a Jack Daniel’s advertisement on a chute gate.

OTHER NEGATIVE ELEMENTS

Bull riders gamble. Ira talks about how hospital food tastes like “warm spittle.”

CONCLUSION

Movies based on Nicholas Sparks books are like Thomas Kinkade paintings—pretty, sentimental and all so very similar. Just as Kinkade’s work always seems to be filled with flowering trees and thatch-covered roofs in sunset-dappled landscapes, so Sparks’ stories are filled with beautiful people perilously in love with someone in threat of imminent death. “Nicholas Sparks?” someone quipped when I told them what movie I was reviewing. “Well, you know someone’s gonna die.”

Amid that, The Longest Ride still serves as a love letter to love itself. And it’s not just infatuation or youthful passion that’s paramount here (although we get an eyeful of that). Ira, Ruth, Luke and Sophia show us the way to enduring, sacrificial love as well. Sparks’ movies speak to those who believe that love can and should last a lifetime, even if it’s not always easy. His vision for that, interestingly, isn’t so far removed from the Apostle Paul’s immortal musings on love—eternally trusting, hopeful, persevering.

It’s just that the way such flowering love is shown onscreen often runs counter to what the Bible teaches. While Luke bills himself as an old-fashioned cowboy, he still takes roll after roll in the hay with his pretty pardner. Even Ira and Ruth share intimate moments before marriage—in an age when such behavior was still scandalous.

In the 21st century, it’d be far more shocking—at least as far as Hollywood’s concerned—for two loopy lovebirds to not sleep together. Now, that’d be quite the twist for a secular romance in the 2010s, wouldn’t it? It’d be the Jackson Pollock of love affairs—a daring departure that might change the way we look at art and our world.

But Nicolas Sparks is not Jackson Pollock.

Related posts:

THE ARTISTS, POETS and PROFESSORS of BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (the college featured in the film THE LONGEST RIDE) Part 22 Poet Charles Olson, friend of Ezra Pound

THE ARTISTS, POETS and PROFESSORS of BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (the college featured in the film THE LONGEST RIDE) Part 21 Sylvia Ashby playwright

THE ARTISTS, POETS and PROFESSORS of BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (the college featured in the film THE LONGEST RIDE) Part 20 Walter Gropius, Bauhaus,

THE ARTISTS, POETS and PROFESSORS of BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (the college featured in the film THE LONGEST RIDE) Part 19 composer Heinrich Jalowetz, student of Arnold Schoenberg

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