While his name isn’t widely known outside of Arizona today, Ralph Haver is one of the most important modernist architects of the Phoenix area. “Haver Homes,” a style of mid-century modern tract homes that he designed, are a key part of his legacy. They’re still found across metro Phoenix and are some of the most popular, in-demand homes in the region.
Haver designed so much of postwar Phoenix. This includes single-family and multifamily homes, schools, municipal buildings, banks, malls, motels, churches, factories, a theater, and more. And he worked regularly with leading developers and contractors, like Del Webb, Dell Trailor, Sam Kitchell, Fred Woodward, Samuel Hoffman, Dan Mardian, and David Friedman.
Ralph Haver Arrives in Phoenix, AZ
Haver was born in 1915 in California, and he trained as an architect at USC. In 1945, he settled in Phoenix (in the location that would soon come to be known as Uptown Phoenix) after serving in the second World War. He started working with his father Harry, who was a brick mason, and his brother Robert, a builder. His family had relocated from California to Phoenix because they saw it as a place with great opportunity to build the future.
His first project of note was a set of experimental ranch homes with strong modernist influence. They were built in the Hixson Homes subdivision near 12th Street and Highland (the area now known as Canal North).
Ed Varney, a prominent modernist architect in Phoenix, began mentoring Haver. Although Haver split from Varney to found his own firm (Haver & Nunn, formed with Jimmy Nunn, whom Haver met in 1952), the two remained friends and collaborators until Haver’s death in 1987.
Haver was active as a Phoenix-based architect until the mid 1980s. Along with his contributions through design, he also valued civic duty, faith, mentorship, and other modes of supporting his community. Haver mentored younger architects like Bennie Gonzales, Bob Mrozinski, Burke Wyatt, and Bob Frankeberger. Also, Haver & Nunn gave many budding architects their first professional experience through internships.
About Haver Homes
Haver Homes are the hallmark of Ralph Haver’s work as a mid-century modern architect in Phoenix. This is the name given to various Haver tract home designs. These homes were (and still are) valued as an economical but stylish, contemporary option that emphasizes comfortable family living. They are usually on the smaller side—1,400 square feet and under—due largely to postwar federally mandated conservation efforts of building materials.
Some typical design features of Haver Homes include brick or block construction, low-sloped rooflines, clerestory windows, glass walls, large mantle-less chimney volumes, clinker bricks in the wainscoting, angled porch posts, and patio ports.
It’s been estimated that Haver designed 20,000 tract homes built in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. In the 1960s and ’70s, his firm expanded to have offices in San Francisco, Hawaii, Minneapolis, and Guam.
Curious About Ralph Haver Neighborhoods in Phoenix?
Visit our Featured Neighborhoods page. There you’ll find short videos introducing many of the region’s famed Haver developments, with information and architectural insights about the housing found there. Take quick tours of Haver neighborhoods in the Phoenix metro area, like Town & Country Scottsdale, Town & Country Paradise, Town & Country Manor, Windermere, Starlite Vista, Northwood, Janet Manor, Mayfair Manor, and Marlen Grove.