Ask Harry Wolf to describe his work and he may show you the photograph of a Japanese fisherman’s robe, a museum piece from the 19th century. These robes are simply three layers of coarse cotton, dyed the indigo of the sea and stitched together with coarse thread. The rows of stitching, running vertically and horizontally in grids, serve the purpose of relieving stress and distributing it across the abric. Where the wear is the greatest, in the seat, the shoulders and at the edges, the stitching pattern doubles or triples, increasing the resistance to the wear at these crucial locations. The result is rational, intelligent, and beautiful.
The Japanese never thought to not make it beautifully, as distinct from making something beautiful; that is, the beauty arises out of the intelligent and careful application of the craft to the necessities.
We have had the good fortune to design buildings of almost all types, both large and small, and the variety we find vitalizing.
We undertake fewer rather than more projects so that we can spend time immersed in the design of each.
Our key criterion is the client. Chemistry and commonality of outlook is paramount and results in an experience where seminal thinking in a working relationship of trust and mutual respect provides fertile ground for creative solutions.
Our preoccupation is to create spaces of purpose, synthesized with systems of support and detailed materiality which are elegant, simple, spare and serene. Like the Japanese robe, we believe Architecture is the careful application of the craft to the necessities.
Our buildings sit well with the land, gracefully connected to place; thoroughly modern with an ordered, timeless, and classic sensibility.
Creating sustainable works is essential and intrinsic to our thought process.
Wolf Architecture was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1966, later shifting to New York and then Los Angeles, until finally moving to Porto, Portugal in 2016. In the ensuing 55 years since inception, the original commitment to the quality of design and attention to detail has not wavered. This has accrued to the benefit of clients, private and public in university and civic works; in banking and Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Westinghouse, The Williams Companies, NationsBank and Superior Oil. There are city, county, state and federal government projects, two embassies for the US Department of State and work for the Federal Reserve Bank.
Among international client’s works are ABN-AMRO Bank world headquarters in Amsterdam; the Kansai Airport Corporation in Osaka, the regional government of Toulouse; Novartis Pharmaceutical Company in Basel, and the Government of Hong Kong.
Project types range the full spectrum from high-rise to residential, and include planning, urban design, interiors and furniture. Wolf Architecture has received the AIA National Honor Award, the nation’s highest award for architecture, five times.
The work of Wolf Architecture is recognized throughout for it's consistently powerful presence and elegant resolution of aesthetic and purpose. The projects illuminate the history of care and experience with material selection, detail and method of construction, and have, across the decades, been thoroughly premised on sustainability from the beginning concept. Wolf Architecture projects are eminently practical, and always beautiful.