BUILDING A DAY: October 15, 2014
Architect: William Morgan
Photos: Mike Potthast
William Morgan, an architect who has received numerous distinguished architectural awards, began his architectural education at Harvard in 1948 as an undergraduate under Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, and finished in 1958 as a graduate student under the tutelage of Jose Luis Sert. Morgan served a tour of military duty in the Navy in the Micronesian Islands from 1952-1955 and it was this experience that would greatly influence his architecture and his exploration and study of architectural beginnings. His research into archaic architecture has resulted in five published works on the topic and in receiving the American Institute of Architects Institute Honor award for his lifelong research on the beginnings of architectural creativity.
Morgan worked for Paul Rudolph as the manager of his Cambridge office and contributed to such projects as the Jewett Art Center at Wellesley College and the US Embassy in Jordan. Morgan returned to Florida after graduate school to practice in Jacksonville, Florida, where he still resides with his wife, Bunny, who was an essential partner in his architectural practice.
The Hilltop House was designed in 1972 and was part of his ongoing exploration of ?earth architecture,? building with the earth and not on it. The hill site, with a 70ft rising, was a favorite picnic spot for his clients and it provided sweeping views of the rolling landscape and visibility of the home from a great distance.
The cast-in-place concrete structure with sloped retaining earth berm walls open in four directions with protected terraces that allow for cross-ventilation. The upper level, ?the Observatory,? is a single room crowned by a wood-beamed ceiling with surrounding glass windows that affords the majestic and endless views.