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Harwell Harris Houses - Treanor House, Abilene (1959)

George Smart

Silent | 1959

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  •  House interior 
  •  House exterior & landscape 
  •  Car port 
  •  Patio and pergola 
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This footage documents the exterior of the John S. Treanor House, designed by famed architect Harwell Harris, in Abilene. The home’s modernist, triangular façade is complimented by several garden courtyards, including one air-conditioned garden court at the center of the house that serve as the focus of the home. The Treanor House was commissioned in 1958 and won an Award of Merit from the Texas Society of Architects.
Harwell Hamilton Harris was born in 1903 in Redlands, California. He spent his early adulthood in Los Angeles where he began art school for sculpting until he visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, and his career path changed to that of architecture. Harris never completed any formal architecture education, instead learning on the job at the offices of renowned architects Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler. Harris left to establish his own firm in L.A. in 1933, working on small modular homes to which he applied the modernist architecture principles he learned under Neutra and Schindler. He taught at Columbia University for one year and in 1952, accepted the position of Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas. He expanded the school's programs and teaching methods, offering students hands-on design and construction experience on projects such as the Texas State Fair House (1954). Harris hired faculty whose innovative ideas and reputations garnered them nickname of the "Texas Rangers" in the architecture world. Harris' methods became a source of tension at UT, and he resigned in 1955. He moved to Dallas and established a private practice where he built modern homes adapted to the Texas landscape and climate. Harris' work received numerous awards throughout his career, and appeared in many exhibitions, including ones at the Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Art. Harris passed away in 1990, leaving his drawings and design material to the Center for the Study of American Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.