Donald Hardison (1916-2012)
Donald Leigh Hardison was born on March 23, 1916 in Fillmore, CA and attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1938 with an AB in Architecture. Following graduation, he joined a union in order to work as a carpenter’s helper on the large Wyvernwood project in Los Angeles, designed by Witmer and Watson, Architects. In 1940, he returned to the Bay Area, taking a position at Contractors, Pacific Air Bases, Alameda, checking plans prepared by Louis Kahn. He served during World War II as a naval architect at Mare Island and Richmond’s Kaiser Shipyards through 1945. Throughout his career, Hardison established several firms, including Hardison & Komatsu (1960) with UC Berkeley classmate S. Richard Komatsu, which continues today as HKIT, Architects in Oakland. Hardison is well known for his work with the Richmond Housing Authority on Easter Hill Village (1950-1954) with Vernon DeMars and Lawrence Halprin, which received national recognition for its innovative design and variety of unit styles. Hardison also collaborated with DeMars for the UC Berkeley Student Center (1958-1962), which includes the Student Union, Dining Commons, Eschelman Hall, and Zellerback Auditorium.
The Donald L. Hardison Collection spans the years 1936-2003, and includes files created by Hardison and his firms. The collection is organized into four series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Office Records, and Project Records that cover Hardison’s career including his education, professional interests and involvement with associations, and architectural practice. Hardison is known for designing churches, multi-family housing, and water treatment plants throughout the Bay Area, though many of the projects in this collection are focused within Richmond, CA. Well-documented projects include Easter Hill Village (1950-1954), UC Berkeley’s Student Union (1958-1961) and Zellerbach Hall (1962), in collaboration with Vernon DeMars.