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Ray Kappe

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Ray Kappe
BornAugust 4, 1927
Minneapolis, Minnesota
DiedNovember 21, 2019(2019-11-21) (aged 92)
AwardsRichard Neutra International Medal for Design Excellence, the California Council/AIA Bernard Maybeck Award for Design Excellence, the Topaz Medal
PracticeKappe Architects Planners
BuildingsBenton House[1]
ProjectsSouthern California Institute of Architecture

Ray Kappe (August 4, 1927 – November 21, 2019) was an American architect and educator. In 1972, he resigned his position as Founding Chair of the Department of Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and along with a group of faculty, students and his wife, Shelly Kappe, started what eventually came to be known as the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).[2] In 2003, Kappe began working with LivingHomes to design modular homes.[3]

Kappe remained actively involved in architectural theory and practice in his later years, particularly in the areas of sustainability and the prefabrication of residences.

Early life and education[edit]

Kappe was born in Minneapolis on August 4, 1927, the son of Romanian immigrants.[4][5] He attended high school in Los Angeles. He studied for a single semester at UCLA in 1945 before being drafted in into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where he served as a topographical surveying instructor.


After his discharge Kappe attended the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a B.Arch. degree in 1951.[4] He practiced architecture on his own starting in 1954, and then became one of the principals of Kahn Kappe Lotery Boccato in 1968. The firm changed names in 1978 to Kappe Lotery Boccato and in 1985, Kappe split off to form Kappe Architects Planners.[6]

Kappe died from respiratory failure on November 21, 2019.[7][8]


The Ray Kappe Archive is housed at the Getty Research Institute and contains all of his drawings, models, and papers, offering comprehensive coverage of his long and varied career.[9]

In 2021, actor Will Arnett sold a custom residence based on a design by Kappe in Beverly Hills for $7.85 million.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

The Showtime series Californication features one of Kappe's projects, the Benton House, as a major plot point in Episode Seven, "Girls Interrupted."[11] The interior of this house is also featured on the CBS series Shark and in the movie Cruel Intentions.[12][13]

Another of his projects made two brief appearances in the Sea Hunt episode, "Hit and Run,"[14] as the residence of the episode's villain. This house was also featured in the Home section of the Los Angeles Times, in an article titled, "A Boat, a Bay, and a Happy House."[15]


  1. ^ "Benton residence, Los Angeles". Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  2. ^ "History of SCI-Arc". sciarc.edu. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Chavez, Julian (20 August 2009). "Architect Ray Kappe". Malibu Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
  4. ^ a b "Ray Kappe papers, 1954–2007: Biographical/Historical Note". Getty Research Institute Library. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  5. ^ Michael Webb & Ray Kappe (January 1999). Themes and Variations: House Design: Ray Kappe: Architects/Planners. Books Nippan. p. 9. ISBN 1-86470-007-6.
  6. ^ "Raymond L. (Ray) Kappe, FAIA (1927-)". usmodernist.org. October 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Ray Kappe, founding director of SCI-Arc, and master of Southern California modernism, has died".
  8. ^ "Ray Kappe, founding director of SCI-Arc, dies at 92". Archpaper.com. 2019-11-22. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  9. ^ "Ray Kappe papers, 1954–2007". The Getty Research Institute.
  10. ^ Jack Flemming (May 28, 2021), Will Arnett sells Beverly Hills smart house for $7.85 million Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ "Girls, Interrupted". Californication. Season 1. Episode 7. 2007-09-24.
  12. ^ Ray Kappe SCI-Arc Modern Architect Kappe Architects Planners.[1] Kappe+Du Architects. Retrieved on 10 December 2007.
  13. ^ Dunning, Brad (2004-04-18). "Site Pacific". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2004.
  14. ^ "Hit and Run". Sea Hunt. Season 4. Episode 29. 1961-07-22.
  15. ^ "A Boat, a Bay, and a Happy House, pp. 8-9". Los Angeles Times Home Magazine. 1958-07-27.

External links[edit]