Monday, March 15, 2010

Elpidio Rocha- Environmental Designer/ Urban Planner

Elpidio Rocha, an architectural theorist designer, educator and a pioneer in the development of of interdisciplinary art/design process. That's a mouthful, that's what they say on ADOBE L.A. regarding his teaching and design background. I can say this, Elpidio is passionate about the influence of Chicano art, design and architecture. I spoke with him last year and he had fond memories of his work here in Kansas City. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, he worked for various departments in Kansas City and Jackson County government, designing parks and recreational facilities, he would say "social" facilities.
The above and below photo are from the AIA Guidebook for Kansas City Architecture. They show a boathouse shelter at Lake Jacomo...with a stone foundation elevating a viewing platform, and a cool shade canopy...the support struts are reminiscient of Bruce Goff and Albert Yanda. I've been wanting to, but haven't been to photograph this and see if it is still there.

The current photos below show Rocha's design for a park sheltor that was asthetically pleasing, functional and could be built for a consistant/uniform cost. I think this is a great design for a sheltor...clean "view" line, thin roof line, stone structural support with cooking area integrated and large (at least 20X20). Designed and built at a time when "thin-shell" construction was in the vogue. (see Manuel Morris) It was apparantly successful as a sheltor design, you can see these structures in many KC and Jackson County parks...these photos were taken at the Water Tower Park located at 75th and Holmes in KCMO.


For a look at Elpidio Rocha's and Dale Eldred's award winning 1962 "Imaginery"park design for 27th and Madison, KCMO go to http://www.westsidecan.org/

2 comments:

irvin said...

I studied with Elpidio Rocha and Dale Eldred. Elpidio was great and often misunderstood being chicano and an architect in KC in the sixties. I ran into later in Berkeley in the 1970s. Where is he now?
Irv Tepper

Jim said...

Elpidio later was a professor of architecture at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. He is now (2011) 84 and retired and living in Sacramento.