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Buff, Straub and Hensman
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Buff, Straub and Hensman

Buff, Straub and Hensman was a Los Angeles-based architecture firm in business between 1956-1961. 

Conrad Buff III (1926-1989) was a graduate of USC’s School of Architecture in 1952. Buff’s family was close with both Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler as Conrad’s father gave Neutra one of his first commisssions.  Conrad served in the Navy in WWII and after the war enrolled at USC where he met Hensman, who had also just returned from active duty.

Donald C. Hensman (1924-2002) grew up on Hollywood, CA.  He served in the Navy during WWII and entered USC by way of the GI bill. Prior to their collaboration with Straub, Buff and Hensman were designers of tract homes for a number of regional developers.  He returned to teach architecture at his alma mater from 1952 - 1963. Hensman remained active in the Pasadena architectural community until his death in 2002.

Calvin C. Straub (1920-1998) was born in Macon, GA.  He studied at Texas A & M University and Pasadena City College before receiving his degree in architecture from USC in 1945.  After serving in the Navy, Straub lectured at USC between 1946-1961.  Moving to Scottsdale, AZ in 1961, he joined the faculty at the College of Architecture at Arizona State University. His work was widely published in Sunset magazine and considered highly influential in shaping the vision iconography of the post-WWI contemporary southern California style.  His and the firm's work bridged the gap between the influences of early arts and crafts architects and the early California modernists, creating a uniquely regional architectural form.  For this work and his educational contributions, he was described in "Toward a Simpler Way of Life" as "the father of California post and beam architecture." His career is archived at the ASU School of Architecture.

San Diego Project

In the November 1956 issue of Sunset Magazine is a photograph of an entertainment console/wall. The caption reads: "Complete Music Wall in the John W. Norton home, San Diego. Designers Conrad Buff III and Don Hensman. Speakers above; TV, tuner, record player in center; storage in bottom section." It is unclear if they designed the Norton Residence or just the interior elements.