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Few names ever reach the top in the architecture world. Henrik Bull was and still is one of them.

Henrik’s contribution to the Bay Area has long since been preserved but never forgotten. The warmth and passion of his craft can be felt in each design and layout.

Here is everything you need to know about Henrik Bull, the legend:

Who is Henrik Bull?

Henrik Bull is a highly-regarded architect who was a resident of California. He is still known today as an architect with principle. He was grounded in his visions and his passion for architecture is shown throughout the Bay Area.

He was known for his modern touch and site-specificity. His love of mountainous terrain started in his childhood after he first began skiing at the age of three. His fuel for design was matched with creating art by using the physical setting to his advantage—such as his barn-like Bear Valley Visitor’s Center. He died in 2013 after losing his battle with an illness. He left the legacy behind of being a generous and kind, intelligent human being.

He contributed the perfection of his craft to the local community for many years. Instead of knocking down dilapidated buildings, he chose instead to restore and rehab them. One of San Fran’s most beloved buildings, the Sentinel Building, was restored by Henrik.

He was raised on the East Coast and moved to San Francisco—the bay area—where he opened an office back in 1956. One of his greatest accomplishments was his design of one of the first Sunset Discovery Homes.

Henrik had been selected to create this “dream home” and was limited only to 2,000 square feet. He was additionally featured in Sunset Magazine and other magazines in addition to being the recipient of many awards for his designs.

Henrik then trailblazed sprawling mountain resorts to create appeal for the sport of skiing. Throughout the rest of his life, his main focus had stayed on ski resorts. An avid skier, his resort expertise was featured in American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience. The journey of skiing down the mountain all begins with the resort itself—to which Henrik was the master.

Innovation Matched with Integrity

Henrik’s fun, inviting personality left a lasting impression on those who were privileged to have met him. He repeatedly spoke of creating and maintaining integrity in architecture. He did not take his work lightly and bestowed his resilience and flexibility upon everyone he worked with.

A co-founder of the San Francisco design firm Bull Stockwell Allen, some of the first revolutionary all-glass façade front A-frame cabins were built with him at the helm, to which he had won over 43 architectural awards for his unique innovations. Henrik did not believe in cookie-cutter designs that did not take climate into consideration. His designs stood out amongst corporation-designed buildings that had a lack of awareness of a wintry climate.

John Ashworth, a principal at Bull Stockwell Allen, shared, “He was a firm believer of authenticity in terms of buildings having sustainable materials and structural integrity. He felt that villages should be a reflection of their specific location, with materials matching the color of each place and buildings sited to fit with the topography and views.”

A Fresh Breath of Architecture

Along with his A-frame cabins, Henrik’s most popular design is the Inn at Spanish Bay. It is located on the Monterey Peninsula and first opened in 1988. He devoted his architectural designs to simplicity and creating functional rooflines. The A-frame was created to allow snow and icicles to side off of the roof to prevent injuries from passersby below.

Henrik deeply understand wintry climates and reflected this streamlined approach in his designs. He was interested in promoting longevity and logic within his pragmatic designs. His awareness even went as far as limiting the number of stairs for people wearing clunky ski boots. Every project he began was formulated from practical, realistic designs to engulf the climate, physical setting, and location of the building.

His firm has been appointed to design buildings in the location that he wrote his thesis about—Spruce Peak. His thesis stated he aimed to expanse the Stowe resorts one day. Over 60 years later, his firm is doing just that. The location is now known as Spruce Peak Village. Henrik’s dreams became reality as he fulfilled what he had set out to do.

He continued his day-to-day operations up until the last 10 years of his life. He retired yet was still a regular at the office, providing humility and positive energy to everyone around him. His 30-person staff continues his operations long past his untimely passing. The staff continues his legacy as they design organic elements within architecture met with warmth, texture, and color patterns.

He is sorely missed and honored throughout the community for his inviting spirit and gentle humility.

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