Interview: Craig Hartman FAIA of SOM (Spring 2000)

 

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Stan Francisco Internation Airport (courtesy SOM) View from vehicular arrival

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View from rooftop of San Francisco Airport International Terminal  ©SOM                         View to skylights from terminal interior ©SOM

 

COMPETITIONS: What led you to the study of architecture?

 

HARTMAN: It wasn’t so much architecture, as what architecture is about.  When I was a kid I loved to draw and paint, loved science and, to a certain extent, math.  Growing up in the sixties, when NASA was in the news, I was probably one of the millions who thought that space and science was the greatest thing.  So I did all these science fairs and was even invited to some schools which had engineering programs.  When I saw what it was actually about—the curriculum—it seemed very dry to me, not nearly as exciting as I had imagined it to be. My father was absolutely adamant that I not become an artist.  At about that time one of my cousins, who was taking a course on architecture in college, came home.  I saw the work and felt it was really interesting stuff.  Initially to me architecture as an idea was more the pieces which made up architecture rather than the excitement of designing buildings.  In fact, my understanding of architecture as a kid in Indiana was that of an arcane profession—certainly not cutting edge. When I discovered through one of my teachers that Ball State University had just undertaken the first architecture program in the state, I felt I should check it out, especially since our family finances precluded my going to an out-or-state school.  It turned out to be an incredibly great experience.

 

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SFTerminal
San Francisco Terminal: vehicle approach to airside (above, left); plan (above, right) and structural concept (below)

 

COMPETITIONS: That was still when the program was based in quonset huts?

 

HARTMAN: It was. And those were great times.  The school was all in one place, and I believe that students often learn as much from one another as they do from faculty.  We had some very energized young faculty there at the time, and that was a huge part of it. Tony Costello, for instance, was a huge influence on me.

 

COMPETITIONS: It was a great experiment.

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