Stephen Harby Architecture and Place:

Watercolor Paintings: About the Artist


Stephen Harby was a Visiting Critic at the Yale School of Architecture for 15 years and conducts a travel enterprise, Stephen Harby Invitational. Travel, architectural history, and professional practice have been the pursuits competing for his attention from an early age. Especially travel: born in London, he returned to the US aboard the Queen Elizabeth when he was three months old. This taste was further whetted during childhood trips to France, Italy and Greece and in which his parents had the wisdom and fortitude to include him.

At Yale College a double major in architectural history and architecture kept both interests competing for his primary attention, and the dedicated teaching of Kent Bloomer, Buzz Yudell and Alec Purves instilled a passion for observation. A year following graduation spent traveling, studying Italian in Florence and sketching combined for the first time these pursuits. Intervening summers were spent working for Charles Moore and Buzz Yudell, organizing the archives that would accompany the latter in his 1976 move to California to set up the practice that would become Moore Ruble Yudell.

Returning to Yale for architecture school, he studied under Cesar Pelli and Charles Moore, and following graduation moved in 1980 to southern California to join Charles Moore at UCLA's Urban Innovations Group. There he was project manager for a range of buildings including the Beverly Hills Civic Center. In 1984 he joined Moore Ruble Yudell where he has worked as a project manager and associate on a broad range of academic and institutional projects. He was the Marion O. and Maximilian E. Hoffman Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome in 1999-2000. He is based in Santa Monica and served on the faculty of the Yale School of Architecture, directing its summer program in Rome, Rome Continuity and Change.

He has served on the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission and on the board of directors of the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians as well as the national Society of Architectural Historians and on the Advisory Board of the Architectural Drawings Collection, University of California Santa Barbara.

He has lectured and published, and his work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Hunter College in New York and at the Fine Arts Building in Los Angeles. He has traveled to many favorite places in addition to those featured in this collection, and they include India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan, Russia, Eastern Europe, Iran, Central Asia, Iberia, Scandinavia, Turkey, Mexico, and within the United States. His preferred means of transport is by surface in trains and ships.

Some of the of the work in this collection was prepared during residencies and fellowships at the American Academy in Rome and at the MacDowell Colony to which the artist is deeply grateful for the time and space to work.


Feature article American Artist in May of 2009. Click here to read the article.

Feature Article in Watercolor Artist in August of 2018. Click here to read the article.

About the Artist...

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