Don Hisaka's Cleveland Years

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April 27, 2011

Berkeley, California-based architect Don Hisaka is getting the royal treatment in Cleveland these days with an exhibit of his Ohioan work of the 60s, 70s, and 80s in the show Don Hisaka: The Cleveland Years on at the Cleveland Artists Foundation. Though Hisaka has moved on to work in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and finally Berkeley, many of his most loved projects are in Ohio, where his work ranged from residences to educational structures to commercial spaces. If you get the chance, do stop in to see the exhibition wich runs through May 21st. Or if you can't make it, check out this slideshow. All photos are courtesy of Thom Abel, Don Hisaka, and the Cleveland Artists Foundation.

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  The Gund Summer Residence in Peninsula, OH, was built in 1965. It was done for Cleveland-born art collector Agnes Gund and her family. Her sole restriction on Hisaka: do not destroy a single tree. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    The Gund Summer Residence in Peninsula, OH, was built in 1965. It was done for Cleveland-born art collector Agnes Gund and her family. Her sole restriction on Hisaka: do not destroy a single tree. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  Boxy white volumes with plenty of glass are the order of the day, with a winding courtyard and a ramp down to the ground. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    Boxy white volumes with plenty of glass are the order of the day, with a winding courtyard and a ramp down to the ground. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  The living room of the Gund house is a large, open space whose biggest architectural move is a curving staircase. Otherwise the trees that Hisaka managed to preserve afford the home much of its privacy. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    The living room of the Gund house is a large, open space whose biggest architectural move is a curving staircase. Otherwise the trees that Hisaka managed to preserve afford the home much of its privacy. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  Though he didn't describe himself as terribly religious, Hisaka did find a kind of numinous abstraction worked well for the B'nai Jeshurun Temple in suburban Pepper Pike, OH. Though the space is largely devoid of religious ornamentation, the color scheme is quietly symbolic of Judaism. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    Though he didn't describe himself as terribly religious, Hisaka did find a kind of numinous abstraction worked well for the B'nai Jeshurun Temple in suburban Pepper Pike, OH. Though the space is largely devoid of religious ornamentation, the color scheme is quietly symbolic of Judaism. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  For all of its Brutalist tendencies, one of the main elements of the Mulford Health Science Library at the University of Toledo from 1973 manages to hover above its more earthbound spaces. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    For all of its Brutalist tendencies, one of the main elements of the Mulford Health Science Library at the University of Toledo from 1973 manages to hover above its more earthbound spaces. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  The library inside offers both order and color. Architectural Record described the building as having "spaces that flow into each other in a family of lively and colorful images, each distinct, but each belonging to an easily recognizable whole." Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    The library inside offers both order and color. Architectural Record described the building as having "spaces that flow into each other in a family of lively and colorful images, each distinct, but each belonging to an easily recognizable whole." Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  The courtyard of Hisaka's home in Shaker Heights, OH, is awfully dramatic. The house itself is a series of sloped-roof volumes organized around this central open space. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    The courtyard of Hisaka's home in Shaker Heights, OH, is awfully dramatic. The house itself is a series of sloped-roof volumes organized around this central open space. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  This view from the upper floor of Hisaka's own Shaker Heights, OH, home from 1965 shows how he used design elements like shaggy rugs and plenty of plants to add texture to his interiors. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    This view from the upper floor of Hisaka's own Shaker Heights, OH, home from 1965 shows how he used design elements like shaggy rugs and plenty of plants to add texture to his interiors. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  Hisaka designed this office for the Swink Advertising Agency in Marion, OH. The building was completed in 1980 and certainly shows Hisaka's debt to the International Style. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    Hisaka designed this office for the Swink Advertising Agency in Marion, OH. The building was completed in 1980 and certainly shows Hisaka's debt to the International Style. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  Once we move inside the Swink Agency to the lobby, we see that some very groovy action indeed. I love the telephone on the pedestal, the epic yellow rug, and the leather chairs by Tobia Scarpa for Cassina. They're Model 944 Soiranas from 1969. Also be sure to dig the overhang on that coffee table with the off-center base. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
    Once we move inside the Swink Agency to the lobby, we see that some very groovy action indeed. I love the telephone on the pedestal, the epic yellow rug, and the leather chairs by Tobia Scarpa for Cassina. They're Model 944 Soiranas from 1969. Also be sure to dig the overhang on that coffee table with the off-center base. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.
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  The lobby of the Mansfield Art Center in Mansfield, OH, from 1971 is all about geometry. The white space makes a fine home for the words of art, and the plants on the ground floor add to the serenity of the interior. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    The lobby of the Mansfield Art Center in Mansfield, OH, from 1971 is all about geometry. The white space makes a fine home for the words of art, and the plants on the ground floor add to the serenity of the interior. Photo courtesy of Thom Abel.

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