Ralph Haver’s work may not have gained the same international recognition as his contemporaries Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, or Eero Saarinen, but there’s no mistaking his defining influence on Arizona Mid-Century Architecture.
Haver was born in Pasadena in 1915. He attended Pasadena Junior College and later studied architecture at the University of Southern California (USC) before the United States entered World War II. After a stint in the military with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, he moved to Phoenix, and started his own architectural practice. In 1945, he founded Haver, Nunn & Associates, partnering with fellow architect, Jimmie Nunn. The duo focused on designing affordable tract homes that were stylish, functional, and suited to the desert climate.
His passion for simple, affordable, and elegant design made him an instant hit among Arizonans who were seeking a fresh architectural perspective.
While Wright’s organic architecture and luxurious designs were the talk of the town, Haver was working diligently behind the scenes. He envisioned a world where every family could live in a well-designed, modern home without breaking the bank. And thus, the “Haver Home” was born.
Haver Homes For All
Haver’s homes were designed for the average family. Their clean aesthetic and open floor plans allowed homeowners to bask in the natural beauty of Arizona while having a comfortable, stylish abode.
With the thousands of Haver Home designed and built, their iconic design elements included low-sloping roofs, expansive windows, and a post-and-beam construction, similar to that of another Arizona contemporary we wrote about recently, Al Beadle. These elements allowed for a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, maximizing both beauty and functionality.
Ralph Haver and his firm didn’t limit themselves to residential projects. They also designed schools, churches, and commercial buildings, leaving their mark on many aspects of Arizona’s mid-century architectural landscape. Many of their projects were concentrated in neighborhoods like Marlen Grove, Town and Country, and Windemere.
Although Ralph Haver passed away in 1997, his work continues to influence architects and homeowners, and his designs have become highly sought-after by those looking to own a piece of Arizona’s unique modernist architectural heritage. In fact, many neighborhoods throughout Phoenix and Scottsdale still boast a high concentration of Haver Homes, lovingly maintained and restored by their proud owners. These communities serve as a testament to Haver’s enduring vision of affordable, stylish living for all. At Optima®, we’re inspired by the innovative spirit of Ralph Haver and his dedication to creating beautiful, functional living spaces.