Blaisdell House | Hill & Kruse Collection

Hill, Henry and Kruse, John

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To download a list of projects for this collection in an Excel spreadsheet, see the Project Index. For instructions on interpreting the Project Index, see The Guide to the Project Index. To view the finding aid for this architect's collection, see the Finding Aid at the Online Archive of California.

Henry Hill PortraitHenry Hill & John Kruse

Born in 1913, Henry Hill studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. After earning his master’s degree in Architecture from Harvard in 1938, he returned to the Bay Area, joining the office of John Ekin Dinwiddie in San Francisco and making partner in 1939. In 1947, Hill formed his own practice designing residences in the Bay Area as well as throughout California and the rest of the United States. Hill’s individual style combined International modernism with regional, vernacular influences, placing him among the second phase of Bay Area regional architecture. His commissions were not limited to private residences, however. During the 1950s, he served as a consultant to U.S. Steel, and he designed U.S. Embassy staff housing in Vienna for the State Department. In 1955, he won an invitation-only competition to design the hiring hall of the International Longshoreman’s and Warehouseman’s Union near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. He also designed the AIA award-winning chapel at the public hospital in Moline, IL. Additionally, he served as a lecturer in Architecture at Stanford University from 1948-1965.

John Kruse PortraitIn 1965, Hill took on long-time associate John Kruse as a partner in his architecture practice. Kruse was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1918 and attended Cornell University and MIT. After serving in World War II as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, he settled in San Francisco and began working with Hill in 1948. With Hill as the designer and Kruse as the structural expert, the prolific partnership would result in more than 500 residences and commercial buildings in California, Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Quebec, and El Salvador. Hill and Kruse would win numerous awards for design throughout their careers, together and individually. Kruse was a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Construction Specifications Institute, and the Woodside Town Council. Hill passed away in 1985 and Kruse in 2000.

The Hill & Kruse Collection consists primarily of project files and drawings of their many projects, most of which are private residences in the Bay Area, with some public buildings as well. Also included in the collection are materials that highlight Hill’s early ideas and influences on his architecture, including the use of wood, the natural surrounding landscape, and Japanese architecture. In addition, there are folders of material publicizing Hill and Kruse’s work. A small series of personal papers includes mostly biographical information. The professional papers contain a collection of writings by and about Hill and his projects, lectures given by Hill, and clippings collected by Hill as references.