Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rosaria Flores Hodgdon (1922-2014)

Rosaria Hodgdon
 
All of us can recall the amazing teachers who left indelible marks on our lives. Their brilliance commanded our respect and their passion for teaching drew us to them. Their greatest satisfaction came from seeing us go on to succeed in whatever we chose to pursue in life. 
 
I was extremely fortunate during my undergraduate studies at the University of Oregon (1980-1983) to learn from the members of a truly outstanding and diverse faculty. I’ve frequently featured the writings of one of my favorite professors, the late Bill Kleinsasser, here on my blog. Sadly, another of my noteworthy teachers, Rosaria Hodgdon, passed away last Monday. 
 
Rosaria was a dedicated urbanist, an advocate for smart growth and the principles of new urbanism well before those terms became popularized within the environmental design lexicon. In this regard, we might regard her presence at the University of Oregon—particularly in the Eugene of the early 1980s—as exceptional. 
 
One of the courses I took from Rosaria was ARCH 441G – Critical Issues in the Urban Environment. Looking back now, I realize how much Rosaria’s lessons regarding the importance of the city to human civilization and its development are relevant to everyday architectural practice. I learned from her that “urbanness” needn’t only be the province of politicians, sociologists, and planners. She convinced us it is within the city where the contributions of architects to society are most impactful. 
 
We lament surrendering to the passage of time those who have meant the most to us, yet we should rejoice in our memories of them. I’m very happy I got to know and learn from Rosaria Hodgdon. 
 
Here is Rosaria’s obituary as published in the Register-Guard: 
 
Rosaria Flores Hodgdon, 92, a woman pioneer in the field of architecture and an early leader in the Great Books Foundation, died September 8 in Needham, MA after a lengthy illness. 
 
Born in Naples, Italy, she was encouraged by her family to follow her passion for architecture, graduating from the University of Naples in 1945. After Naples fell to the Allies in 1943, she met her future husband, David Hodgdon, an American ambulance driver serving with a British unit that occupied her family's villa. After the war they came to his home town, Wakefield, Mass. They were married for 64 years until his death in 2009. 
 
She practiced architecture in Wakefield and at the same time coordinated 60 reading groups for the Great Books Foundation, at that time the largest adult education organization in the country. 
 
In 1963, she went to work for Shepley Bulfinch in Boston, moving in 1971 to CBT. 
 
The University of Oregon hired her in 1972 to teach in its School of Architecture. She won the Cornaro Tercentenary Award and was a Danforth Associate for outstanding teaching; she was granted tenure in 1979 and remained for 20 years. She published one book Housemoving: Old Houses Make Good Neighbors. 
 
In New England her projects included the Somerset Hotel in Boston, the Beebe Library in Wakefield, and the Hartford Hospital.
 
She is survived by two sons, Andrew and Charles of Newton, and daughter Victoria of Portland, Oregon.

1 comment:

Thomas Lester said...

Just for the record, Rosaria Hodgdon was not an advocate for new urbanism any more than she was an advocate for the pattern language.
I think that Rosaria Hodgdon, and what she stood for, has been "disappeared" by historical revisionism. The revisionism is mostly revisionism by omission. But every once in a while, it's by simple misunderstanding.