2005 Wornick Distinguished Professor of Wood Arts Richard La Trobe Bateman Lends Zen to CCA

Richard La Trobe Bateman is CCA's fall 2005 Wornick Distinguished Professor of Wood Arts.

Bateman, with Donald Fortescue, developed an ambitious and exciting project for the Studio: Atelier course that involved a collaboration with the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains, east of Carmel.

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center was the first Zen monastery built outside of Japan and is a vital practicing Zen monastery to this day. It spans the Tassajara River and is famous for its traditional Japanese architecture, vegetarian cuisine, and hot springs.

Bateman and Fortescue, together with 15 CCA students, joined the community for their work period and spent some of that time surveying the proposed bridge site and documenting the environment. Back at CCA, they designed and built a footbridge to cross the Tassajara River.

The bridge was built at the college as a group project and then installed at Tassajara the following spring. Everyone at CCA was able to see the bridge as it neared completion in the Nave of the San Francisco campus in late October 2005.

The constructed bridge was on view in the Nave from Monday, October 31, through Friday, November 4, 2005.

About Richard La Trobe Bateman

Richard came from the United Kingdom, where he has a stellar reputation as a furniture designer-maker, critic, educator, and designer and builder of bridges. He studied at St. Martin's School of Art and at the Royal College of Art in London and has taught at colleges and run seminars all over the world, including St. Martins School of Art, Loughborough College of Art and Design, Parnham House, and the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom; Australia's Jam Factory Craft and Design Center and the Australian National University; and San Diego State University.

His own practice as a designer/maker spans forms from furniture to bridges. He is obsessed with structure and strives for his work to be pure expressions of the inherent engineering required to achieve the utilitarian purpose of the form, whether it be to seat the human form, to provide a surface for dining or working, or to span the Thames with a heavily trafficked footbridge.

He visited CCA in 2000 and ran a wonderful green woodworking studio, which had students splitting whole logs into billets using traditional hand tools and then building furniture out of the raw materials.