Ralph Rapson


A VISUALLY STUNNING architectural biography of Minnesota’s most influential architect of the twentieth century. Architect, artist, furniture designer, and educator, Ralph Rapson has played a leading role in the development and practice of modern architecture and design, both nationally and internationally.

“Ralph Rapson is now a legend in the history of modern architecture.”
—Cesar Pelli, FAIA


Barbara Flanagan/The New York Times

Ralph Rapson is best known as the designer of the Gutherie, Minneapolis’s landmark of theater design, but because he worked, taught and competed with most of the world’s first modernists–Wright, Mies, Corbusier, Saarinen–his elder son and biographer calls him “the Forest Gump of architecture.”

Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design, by Rip Rapson, Jane King Hession and Bruce N. Wright, documents the architect’s vast career and uncanny associations.

Rapson believed design should be reflect the moment–furniture, houses, cities–but his take on modernism was never pompous. He perpetuated endless ideas–still fresh–vibrant drawings and youthful pranks. (He had his students hoist famous visitors upside down, including the stocky Buckminister Fuller, and footprint the ceiling with their bare soles.) The book shows how one can be talented, influential and happy, all the while remaining internationally obscure. It also tells, discreetly, how one man can achieve all this single-handedly: with his right forearm amputated at birth, Ralph Rapson drew with his left hand.

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