Walter S. White (1917-2002)
Owning Institution: UC Santa Barbara, Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design and Architecture Museum
About this CollectionWalter S. White was born in 1917. Between 1933 and 1936 he attended San Bernardino High School. White worked for six months in 1937 for Harwell H. Harris followed by an eight month term in Rudolf Schindler’s Los Angeles office during 1937-1938. After working with Schindler White worked for Allen Rouff for six months between 1938 and 1939. Between 1939 and 1942, White worked for Win E. Wilson for two years and six months, helping to plan and design prefabricated war housing with a skin-stressed plywood panel system. In his papers White recounts that over 8,000 of these units were constructed in the United States. For the remainder of the war, White was employed by the Douglass Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, California, working on machine tool design for four years and six months, 1942 to 1946. In 1947 White moved from Los Angeles to Palm Springs where he worked for Clark & Frey Architects between 1947 and 1948, one year and six months. Starting in 1948, White began to work on his own as a self-employed designer and contractor in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he continued to practice as a contractor until 1965. White obtained his architecture license in Colorado Springs in 1967. He returned to California and worked there during the 1970s and 1980s. Reflecting on his career, White described the variety of buildings he designed: “300 residences, 40 recreation homes, ski lodges, commercial buildings, churches, luxurious club houses and guest rooms, and condominiums. Of the 300 residences designed I have built approximately 15% of them myself.” In addition to designing houses, White devoted much of his career to the research and development of the Solar Heat Exchanger Window Wall and the "Hyperboloic Paraboloid Roof Structure and Method of Constructing Thereof" –- both of which he patented, in 1975 and 1996 respectively. White is perhaps best known as a California modernist practicing industrial design and architecture in Southern California during the 1950s, Colorado during the 1960s, and back in California through the 1980s. Walter S. White died in 2002, at the age of 85.
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