2014 CH+D Award Winner: Christopher Haas


Christopher won the 2014 CH+D Award for Emerging Designer (Architecture).

When it comes to creating structures, Christopher Haas finds the idea of four solid walls confining. The architect cut his chops at world-renowned Herzog & de Meuron during the design and construction of San Francisco’s de Young Museum. His time with the starchitect firm took him to Miami Beach and Switzerland, but in 2009, the Colorado native returned to SF to open his own studio, Haas Architecture.

Together with Alonzo King of Lines Ballet, Haas won a grant to create a new cross-
disciplinary work. Haas and King developed Triangle of the Squinches (a “squinch” is a masonry element that allows a dome to sit atop a square base). Haas wanted to give the dancers “architectural partners”—something that they could interact with during the Mickey Hart–scored performance. The piece had to be dramatic yet cost-effective, so the architect designed forms made of everyday materials. The result is a massive wall of cardboard bricks and a forest of elastic bands that stretches 20 feet into the air. “We used hundreds of pounds of cardboard and 40,000 feet of elastic,” says Haas.

The architect’s other projects include the Zero1 Garage, a former auto shop renovated to hold offices and exhibition space for the San Jose arts organization Zero1; a straw-bale home with walls that open like garage doors; and a viewing platform for the Bay Lights installation on SF’s Bay Bridge. “Experimental work keeps my life interesting,” says Haas.

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