Henrik Bull
Henrik Bull, who died on Dec. 3, 2013. Photo: courtesy BSA

Henrik Bull, highly regarded architect and Berkeley resident, died on Dec. 3, 2013 at his home in Berkeley after battling illness. He was 84. Henrik was a good friend to, and supporter of, Berkeleyside, as well as an occasional contributor. Henrik’s encouragement meant a lot to us. He was a charming, warm, intelligent man, always generous with his time and his thoughts. We have fond memories of him and we will miss him.

Below we share an obituary shared by Henrik’s colleagues at Bull Stockwell Allen:

It is with a heavy heart we said goodbye to a firm founder and dear friend, Henrik Bull last week. Henrik H. Bull died on December 3, 2013 at his home in Berkeley after battling illness. He was a formidable and talented architect, a mentor and inspiration to many. Although officially retired from the firm for the last 10 years, Henrik was a regular in the office, offering his consultation and expertise, reminding us that sometimes the simplest solution is often the best. His snow-country design expertise and prescribed solutions to ice and snow continue to mark important firm hallmarks.

Henrik grew up on the East Coast and graduated from MIT in 1952. Moving to San Francisco, he opened an office in 1956 and began his architectural career designing award-wining homes in the Bay Area and around Lake Tahoe, including designing one of the first Sunset Discovery homes. In 1968 he and Daniel Volkmann, Wood Stockwell and John Field founded, Bull Field Volkmann Stockwell Architects, which soon won a competition for planning a new Capitol for the State of Alaska.

A passion for skiing naturally led Henrik to be a pioneer in planning and designing the mountain resorts that grew along with the expanding sport of skiing. A principal, he was in charge of major projects ranging from Stowe, Vermont, to Beaver Creek, Colorado, Squaw Valley and Northstar in California. Honored as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, his 43 major architectural awards include those in California for the Tahoe Tavern Condominiums, the Visitor’s Center at Point Reyes National Seashore, the Northstar Resort in Truckee and the Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach.

A home in San Rafael designed by Henrik Bull. Photo: Wikimedia.

Numerous magazines published Henrik’s work, ranging from Sunset to Architectural Record. Recently, his history as a mountain resort expert was featured in a new book by Margaret Supplee Smith entitled, American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience. The book explains how the experience of skiing for most Americans is inextricably linked to architecture, for our journey down the mountainside is shaped by the ski resort. She describes Henrik and our firm as designing more than 80 mountain projects, including Spruce Saddle Lodge and Poste Montane Lodge at Beaver Creek and the Outpost Day Lodge at Keystone.

Above all, Henrik was a wonderful man. His warmth and passion for his craft were contagious. He was generous with his time and his wealth of experience. Henrik’s stories were as infamous as his expert status on the slopes. We miss him. His work will continue to inspire the firm, other architects and building users for generations to come.

Henrik is survived by his wife, Barbara; his son, Peter, of Mexico City; his daughter Nina and son-in-law Richard Fishman of Alamo, and two grandchildren. No memorial service has been scheduled.

From Pierluigi Serraino, local architect and author: Henrik was an architect of principles. His opinions were clear and grounded historically in his first-hand participation in post-war architecture in California. His passion for architecture was unquestioned. Present in critical debates about the future of Bay Area architecture, he found his design voice in merging very personalized rendition of site specificity and modernity. His plans were tight, his design expression rigorous, his debt to his mentors never inhibiting. The work is lyrical and spontaneous. We lost a great architect and I lost a father figure.

Read Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association’s tribute to Henrik Bull.
Read John King’s tribute to Henrik Bull in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Feel free to share your messages of condolence and/or memories of Henrik Bull in the comments.

Berkeleyside is always honored to publish, at no cost, obituaries of members of the Berkeley community. Please email text and photo(s) to editors@berkeleyside.com.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...